The New Jersey Devils selected Adam Larsson with the fourth pick overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft with the hopes that he’d continue a long lineage of excellent Devils defensemen. So far, he has met expectations.
Larsson was in the conversation for the Calder Trophy but as the playoffs approached, he wasn’t relied upon as much. The Devils are hoping he can continue to take steps towards becoming one of the leagues’ better blue liners. Here are three areas where he can continue to improve so that he’ll have a shot at being an All-Star next season.
More Playing Time
As mentioned, Larsson wasn’t used very much in the playoffs and was a healthy scratch for 17 regular season games. Anyone who is making NHL picks and Stanley Cup predictions for next year knows that if the Devils are to be a factor again, Larsson will not only have to play more, he’ll have to be used more too.
If Larsson is to grow, he’s going to need the ice time to do so and he’ll have to make very good use of those minutes.
Joining The Power Play
Speaking of more ice time and more productivity, one way to do that is to give Larsson more power player time. Larsson is an excellent puck-moving defenseman who makes a good first pass. He’s also a very fast, smooth skater.
The Devils don’t have many players like him and he would be a real asset on the power play.
Adjusting To The NHL
Many people forget that Larsson comes from the Swedish Elite League, which means last season was a big adjustment period for him. While it didn’t seem like one since he was so effective right off the bat, it was still a big change in environment for him.
Look for Larsson to be far more comfortable with life in the NHL in his second season. If that’s the case and he continues to improve, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see him in the 2013 All-Star Game.