After a long postseason run with his Skelleftea AIK squad in Sweden’s highest-level ice hockey league, Elitserien, top European prospect Adam Larsson
is one step closer to achieving his goal of playing in the National Hockey League.
But before a draft hopeful steps onto the grandest of stages, the NHL Scouting Combine awaits.
Horror stories have been passed down over the years, describing the extremes a player’s body goes through during the physical portion of the combine. Buckets are at-the-ready in the event a player becomes physically ill. Larsson, however, was never fazed.
The big defenseman, who is currently listed at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, started training for the physical portion of the NHL Scouting Combine two weeks ago in his native Sweden. For Larsson, it was all about preparation.
|Adam Larsson takes part in the V02 Max test at the 2011 NHL Scouting Combine held in Toronto last week. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images) |
His training paid off, as Larsson particularly shined on the V02 Max, a test that measures a player’s endurance and overall aerobic fitness. Lasting an impressive 14 minutes on a grueling machine that leaves players fatigued and dripping with sweat, Larsson finished far ahead of last year’s average of 11.33. Only Vancouver Giants defenseman David Musil was able to rival Larsson, also clocking in at 14 minutes.
“It was tough, but I liked it,” Larsson said, in reference to the bike test. “That was the toughest out there.”
With the combine completed, Larsson reflected on his experience. “I’ve enjoyed the whole week. I’m not used to this much attention, but so far, so good. I like it.”
Because defense is considered by many as the toughest position to play in hockey, it isn’t uncommon to see young defensemen groomed in the minors before making the jump into the NHL. But Larsson’s skill-set and poise on the blueline give him a good chance of making an opening-day roster.
Already blessed with good size and strength, Larsson’s on-ice vision allows him to make smart decisions with-and-without the puck. He considers himself a two-way defenseman – a defenseman who has the ability to join the rush and produce scoring chances while also being responsible in his own zone. Skating ability has a lot to do with the success – or lack thereof – of being a legitimate two-way defenseman, and Larsson’s skating is exceptional. NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards considers Adam "one of the best skaters in this year's draft. He has excellent speed and mobility."
Below are some highlights of his 2010-11 season
- Finished his second full season with Skelleftea, scoring 1-8=9 points in 37 regular season games. Also earned 0-4=4 points in 17 postseason games.
- Had a plus-12 rating in the 2010-11 regular season compared to a minus-7 in 2009-10.
- Represented Sweden in the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships, finishing the tournament as the team’s highest scoring defenseman with 1-3=4 points in six games. Did you know?
- Larsson was only the third defenseman to make his Elite League debut at the age of 16 (long-time NHL defenseman Calle Johansson and current Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman were the first two).
- His father, Robert, played 249 career games with Skelleftea from 1985-95, earning 66-77=143 points, and was drafted in the sixth round (No. 112 overall) by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft.Up Next: Mika Zibanejad
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