NEWARK, N.J. -- Adam Larsson was quiet and chose his words carefully following the first day of his first NHL training camp. The fourth pick in the 2011 Entry Draft has the size (6-foot-3, 197 pounds) and experience from playing in Sweden to jump into the NHL right away.
The Devils also lack a surplus of experienced, viable defensemen, which gives Larsson a pretty good chance to crack the roster.
But Larsson was careful not to say he deserved to be there, just that he was going to do his best during camp and let the coaches make their decision.
"I'm just going to do my thing," Larsson said. "The biggest difference between here and Sweden must be the speed and skills of the players. Hopefully I'll get used to it. Of course this is a dream for me. It's huge for everybody to be part of an NHL team. I'm just going to do my best and hopefully I will make the team."
Does the 18-year-old believe he belongs here?
"Of course I believe it," Larsson said. "I'd be stupid if I didn't."
Veteran defenseman Bryce Salvador got his first glimpse of the first defenseman taken in this year's draft and liked what he saw.
"I think he's definitely got the skill set," Salvador said. "You just can't put too much pressure on him. Playing defense in this league is very difficult. We just need to let him develop and not put too much pressure on him."