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Oilers to take time with Larsson

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

There is no doubt defenceman Adam Larsson will be expected to take on a big role with the Oilers this season. They wouldn't have traded for him, giving up Taylor Hall, otherwise. The 23-year-old blueliner has 274 NHL games under his belt after being selected fourth overall in 2011.

Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan says he expects Larsson to play 20-22 minutes a night "against the top level of competition."

Will he put up massive offensive numbers? McLellan doesn't think so, but instead points to San Jose's Marc-Edouard Vlasic as a good example.

"Play very good minutes against the other teams' top players and play consistently and continue to grow his game with our team as it grows," McLellan said of Larsson's expectations.

While Larsson is eager to take the next step and work on his offensive game, McLellan has tapped the brakes a bit on that notion. While the club expects him to eventually become a power-play contributor, that may not happen right away.

"We've got to take our time with him," said McLellan. "I don't want to be bold and tell the fans and even his teammates that he's going to play in a situation or that situation. We've got to take some time with him and we've got to make him comfortable with what he does best, and that's playing regular minutes and penalty killing and playing a good defensive game. Do I think the offence is there? Yeah, I do. I think in the future we can talk about working him into those roles, but right now we need to just make sure he gets comfortable here."

The head coach also said Larsson is sure to be under a "microscope" given the trade that brought him here, so the staff will make him comfortable before placing added pressure on the young defender.

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