Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Date of Birth: November 12, 1992
Place of Birth: Skellefteå, Sweden
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 201
Despite battling both groin and shoulder injuries this past season for Skellefteå AIK of the Elitserien (SEL), Larsson is still considered to be one of the three best players in this year's entry draft (most mocks I've read have him going second to Colorado, but every once in awhile you'll see him at the top of a mock), and is rated the top European skater by Central Scouting. He's clearly the best defenseman in the draft. Despite playing against players much older than he in the SEL, he's more than held his own by using his tremendous size, skating, and puck-handling ability. As a highly-rated young Swedish defenseman, it's not surprising to hear "The L Word" brought up when discussing Larsson: Lidstrom. More immediately, however, the comparison seems to be with countryman Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
20010/2011 Regular Season Stats:
Scouting Report (NHL.com):
"Adam is one of the best skaters in this year’s draft -- he has excellent speed and mobility. He also has patient puck handling abilities and can surprise an opponent with a solid hit. His size and skating ability make him comparable with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman."
Why he'd be a good fit in Columbus:
While it's unlikely that he would be taken outside of the top two or three picks (Columbus picks 8th), he clearly would provide the Jackets with their best big, mobile defenseman prospect... with a much-coveted right-handed shot to boot. He has an NHL-ready body--you can't teach 6'3/200 pounds at age 18--and who wouldn't take a Victor Hedman clone (with a Lidstrom-esque ceiling) on our blue line? The other, less tangible quality that Larsson has is his hockey smarts. He's always in good position, and doesn't allow pressure to affect his usually-solid first pass. Plus, as an added bonus, he's already met and exchanged pleasantries with Ryan Johansen:
Nikita Filatov likes Larsson's ability to ride forwards off the puck:
Larsson has a wicked right-handed shot, and can play the Power Play: