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Training Camp

Adam Larsson embracing new home

Oilers defenseman learning the ropes after being traded from Devils

by DerekVan Diest / Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson came to terms with being traded from the New Jersey Devils on June 29 and is anxious to play a game for his new team.

Larsson will make his debut for the Oilers on Monday in a split-squad preseason game against the Calgary Flames. The Oilers have yet to announce whether he will be on the roster traveling to Calgary or the one hosting the Flames in the first NHL game at Rogers Place.

"It's going to be fun. I've had a great time here so far after the trade and there are good guys here on the team and this facility (Rogers Place) is nice, so the change has been good for me," Larsson said Sunday. "It's going to take a little while to get used to it, but so far, it feels like I've adjusted pretty good."

Larsson, 23, a product of Skelleftea, Sweden, was acquired by the Oilers for left wing Taylor Hall. The trade came as a surprise to Larsson, who was selected fourth by the Devils in the 2011 NHL Draft and spent five seasons in New Jersey.

"It's always sad knowing you're going to leave guys you've been friends with for five years, I don't think it matters where you're going or how you go there," Larsson said. "But I'm happy where I am right now and I'm really excited for the season to start."

Video: RAW | Adam Larsson

Hall, the first pick of the 2010 draft, was one of Edmonton's top offensive players and a fan favorite. Larsson, however, does not feel any added pressure being traded for Hall.

"No," he said. "I'm not the same guy, so it had nothing to do with me."

The Oilers acquired Larsson to help stabilize their defense. He averaged 22:31 minutes of ice time with New Jersey last season, while playing on the top pairing with Andy Greene.

In 82 games, Larsson had three goals and 18 points with a plus-15 rating.

"I like him as a person, he's attentive, he asks some real good questions, he seems to have a presence about him in and around the locker room," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said when asked his first impressions of Larsson. "I think he understands some of our language in certain situations. He's very calm on the ice, he doesn't seem to have a jittery element to him where he panics or things like that. He's a strong defender, but that's only Friday, Saturday and Sunday viewing for me with the group. It's going to take a little more time."

McLellan concedes trading Hall was not a popular move by the Oilers, but does not believe Larsson will be under any added scrutiny because of it.  

"I don't think he should have any worries at all," McLellan said. "We're talking about a forward and D-man. We're talking a dynamic offensive guy and more of a shutdown, stay-at-home, steady, big-minute guy on the back end. To me, that's apples and oranges. I don't know how you can compare the two fairly, both to Taylor and to Adam.

"People will watch and every night they go home, they're going to be their own general manager, 'Yeah, I would have made that [trade], or no I wouldn't have.' But that's the way the business goes. We know we had to get better on the blue line, we still believe we have a lot of work to do there, but we think we are one player, even two players stronger, because of [Oscar Klefbom's] return to health."

Edmonton will play seven preseason games before opening the regular season at home against the Flames on Oct. 12.

The preseason will give Larsson ample time to become accustomed to the Oilers' style of play.

"I think we're progressing every day," he said. "It's a little new system for me, so I hope I can kind of get a couple of games in the preseason to get adjusted to it. Once the season starts, you shouldn't have any excuses. If you do, you're going to have to talk to the coach about that. I'll be on top of that and try to get into it as quick as I can."

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