Though the Edmonton Oilers may not have an offensive defenceman in Adam Larsson, they could make use of him on the man advantage.
Larsson is more of a shutdown, stay-at-home defender who takes exceptional care of the puck. However, given his skill-set, he has the ability to add more of an offensive edge to his game. In addition, he can use his potential to make himself a force on the power play.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound blueliner has an underrated point shot, and it is faster than most people expect. Not only that, but he plays with great poise and control over the puck, and can work wonders with bringing the puck up ice.
Last season, Larsson had four goals and 19 points through 79 games, as well as an impressive 253 hits and 160 blocks. However, he only had 85 shots on goal, as well as a lacklustre 28 takeaways for 71 giveaways.
How Can Larsson Evolve?
When it comes to understanding his role on the ice, Larsson is a top-pairing defender, and though he specializes in a shutdown game, he still has time to add more offensive edge. The 24-year-old is still developing his game and learning his role, and also took great steps to improve his overall game this season.
Prior to this year with Edmonton, Larsson didn’t play with nearly as much physicality. Now, he has evolved his ability and finished 2016-17 with career-high totals in hits.
If he can develop his game to become more physical, he can also stand to focus more on moving the puck up ice and jumping in offensively.
Larsson’s Offensive Potential
He is physical and able to win battles for the puck, and he possesses great stickhandling skill. Considering his ability to control the puck, as well as his heavy point shot, Larsson has the ability to get more involved on offence. However, he needs to add this edge to his game, and he needs to be thrown into that role.
On the second power-play unit, the Oilers don’t have a permanent point defenceman, and this is where Larsson could get more minutes. If he has the chance to prove his offensive worth on the man advantage, it may help him add more offensive prowess to his game.
In the end, while he shouldn’t be coerced into adding more offence to his game, it would help to give him that ice time and see what he can do with it.