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Since Adam Larsson was traded I have used this space quite a bit to talk about which defenseman should and could potentially fill his void on the top pairing.
The name I always come back to is Damon Severson.
While I worry about tougher minutes hindering his ability to produce offense at 5 v 5 he seems like the obvious choice to fill Larsson's shoes.
Severson has shown he is a capable top-4 defender at a young age and has performed well over the past couple years whenever he was given the opportunity to play alongside Andy Greene on the top unit.
In fact, the Greene + Severson pairing has actually out performed the Greene + Larsson pairing, albeit over a much smaller sample size.
The Devils generated almost 10 more shot attempts per 60 with Severson playing on the top pairing as opposed to Larsson. They did allow a couple more shot attempts against per 60 with Severson but the net differential was still 4.2 percentage points higher.
It is important to take into account the time on ice - almost 2,000 minutes is more reliable than ~550 - and Severson had slightly more favorable zone starts than Larsson did with Greene. That said, the results are certainly encouraging.
To quickly summarize: the Devils generate more shot attempts and a larger percentage of them with Severson on the ice, however, the Greene + Larsson pairing was better at suppressing shots despite slightly tougher zone starts.
The goal numbers reflect what we saw in the shot attempt numbers.
Again, the Devils are better at generating offense with Severson, better at suppressing offense with Larsson, and the net differential is better with Severson.
If the ~550 minutes of hockey Greene and Severson played together from 2014-16 is any sign of what is to come than Severson seems like the obvious choice to move to the top pairing this fall.
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