This article will be another in my series of player profiles, where I’ll look at each player on the Anaheim Ducks and assess how their season went. This piece will focus on Jacob Larsson.
The former first-round pick spent almost the entire season in the NHL this year, playing in 60 games and collecting two goals and 11 points, a pace of 15 points per 82 games, along with a minus-nine rating. He played in a fairly limited role, averaging just over 16 minutes per game, which was the least ice time per game of any Ducks defenseman.
His corsi for percentage was very weak at just 42.7 per cent, though he did have an offensive zone start percentage of just 45.8 per cent. He also had a goals for percentage of just 43.1 per cent and his expected goals for percentage was pretty much the same, at just 43.3 per cent (according to NaturalStatTrick.com). These poor underlying numbers came despite the fact that he faced a much lower quality of competition than every other defender on the team who played at least 15 games with the Ducks this year (according to Hockey Abstract).
Overall, it wasn’t a great year for Larsson and the 2020-21 season is going to be a very interesting one for him. He’ll need to battle for ice time with several other defensemen such as Kodie Curran, Christian Djoos, Brendan Guhle and Josh Mahura, just to get a spot in the lineup.
Similar to what I said about Max Jones, I think we need to set some realistic expectations for Larsson as well. He’s still very young and can certainly become an important part of the Ducks’ lineup, but we probably shouldn’t be expecting him to become a quality top-four NHL defenseman at this point. He needs to earn his ice time next season, then we’ll go from there.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Do you think Jacob Larsson will earn a permanent spot in the Ducks' lineup next season?