Adam Larsson - NHL Draft Profile

2011 Scouting Reports | 22 Jun 2011

2. RD Adam Larsson - Skelleftea AIK (SEL)

DOB: Nov. 12/92 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 220lbs  
Midterm Rank: 1 | League Rank: 1st SEL | Country Rank: 1st Sweden

     Adam Larsson came into the season fighting with Sean Couturier for top honours, and goes out fighting to maintain a slot in the Top 2. It was that kind of a season for the 18-year-old defenseman who struggled to deal with the intense microscope and high expectations that were bestowed upon him this season. Like Couturier, Larsson’s game was heavily scrutinized to the point where many have become concerned about his upside as a franchise, or even number one calibre defenseman.

     While so much of the season has focused on Larsson’s weaknesses, it’s important not to forget that he’s still a very talented player who has some serious upside. Larsson has very good size and has already filled out his frame very well. He’s got good range and mobility and is a very strong technical skater for his size. He doesn’t have that extra step that you might like, but given the style of game he plays, he can bypass the need for elite acceleration.

     A very smart player, Larsson makes a lot of good on-ice decisions and plays a fairly risk-free game. He’s a good puck moving defenseman who does a good job of identifying passing lanes and utilizing outlets well. He’s a capable powerplay defenseman who has the skills and poise to be a strong point player. Has a good shot that can be an asset and moves the puck decently well on the PP, although he doesn’t quite fit the mould of being a true PP quarterback.

     Larsson runs into problems when the pace of the game and physicality increase, which is one of the concerns about his ability to be a premier defenseman at the NHL level. Larsson is a big player, but he struggles a bit when players target him and can be knocked off his game. With increased pressure on the forecheck and players finishing checks, he becomes turnover prone and becomes victim of playing a style of game that he’s uncomfortable with. He’ll need to continue to improve his ability to deal with opposing players and work on being able to escape and elude some of the checks that will be coming his way.

     Last season there was also a concern that he doesn’t quite have the high-end speed, and that’s something that will also have to come in time. By no means is he even close to being a poor skater, but if he wants to be the go-to defenseman on a team, he’ll need to also work on adding an extra gear and improving his agility a bit.

     Overall, there isn’t a lot to not like about Larsson’s game. He’s a very polished defenseman who is probably NHL-ready despite his intentions to spend at least one more year with Skelleftea in the Elitserien. He may never reach that franchise type potential that some were expecting from him, but as someone that should worst-case scenario be a #2 or #3 defenseman, he’s a low-risk player who still has upside to be a #1 on most teams in the NHL as he reaches his potential, which isn’t so bad after all.

Pros: Size, Decision Making, Shot
Cons: Turnover Prone, Concerns about overall upside
Skill-set Comparison: Erik Johnson

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