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Player Report Card - #6 Adam Larsson

April 1, 2020, 12:01 PM ET [1 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Adam Larsson struggled mightily through the 2018/2019 season and wanted to come into the 2019/2020 season stronger and make an impact like he did through the 2016/2017 season. The results? Mostly good..... eventually.


49GP: 1-5-6

First off, the season started about as poorly as it could for any player for Larsson. A fractured fibula in the first game of the season kept Larsson out of the lineup until late November. Losing nearly 8 weeks to an injury is tough for any player but having it occur at the beginning of the season is even worse. At the beginning of the season, every player is shaking off the rust and getting back into game form. When Larsson returned at the end November, he was still in that stage while every player around him was in game form, and it showed.

Larsson was brought along slowly by Tippett upon his return, mostly playing in a third pairing role and even with limited minutes he looked slow and sluggish. By the beginning of January however, Larsson was back to playing in a top 4 role and doing what he does best; playing effective shutdown minutes.

Adam Larsson and Kris Russell to a degree play a similar game, but I am much higher on Larsson than I am on Kris Russell. The reasons? I'm glad you asked.

For starters, Larsson is not nearly the anchor offensively that Kris Russell is. This isn't to say that Larsson is a producer of points because clearly he isn't. However when Larsson is on the ice a couple things need to be known.

First off Larsson plays against much tougher competition on a nightly basis than Kris Russell. Let's use the game against the Golden Knights on March 9th as an example. While Larsson was being fed a healthy dose of minutes against Reilly Smith, Paul Stastny and Jonathan Marchessault, Kris Russell was playing against William Carrier, Brandon Pirri, and Nick Cousins.

Secondly, despite this, Larsson is a much more positive influence in terms of possession and offense. He doesn't destroy the CF% of his fellow linemates the same way that Kris Russell does and overall the team producers more when Larsson is on the ice than Russell.

Larsson has one more year at just over 4.1 million left on his contract and is a candidate to be moved this summer. With how effective Ethan Bear has become and the improvements of other internal candidates like Caleb Jones, the Oilers could actually entertain moving a player like Larsson without fear of being completely depleted.

Should the Oilers keep Larsson for next season, they will have an effective shutdown defender once more and while he may not be flashy, he is effective at the role he is being asked to play. If we do still get playoff hockey this season, Larsson could really shine and rise to the tough grind of a post-season.

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