Oilers hire Kalle Larsson to be Senior Director of Player Development

The Oilers have announced the addition of Kalle Larsson as Senior Director of Player Development, with him also set to be involved with the Bakersfield Condors.
Edmonton Oilers v Montreal Canadiens
Edmonton Oilers v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Even as the Edmonton Oilers continue their quest to beat the Dallas Stars and reach the Stanley Cup FInal, it's business as usual off the ice. As per a press release from the team on Thursday, they have hired Kalle Larsson as Senior Director of Player Development.

Larsson will collaborate with senior management and coaches for both the Oilers and the Bakersfield Condors. He will also oversee the organisation's draft picks and negotiate terms with prospects.

The Goteborg, Sweden native has extensive experience in a variety of roles dating back more than two decades, mostly in the USHL. This includes nine seasons with the Dubuque Fighting Saints, with spells as their director of player personnel, general manager and president of hockey operations.

A consistent winner

To give some idea of just how good Larsson was with the Fighting Saints, consider that they never finished below .500 while he was in Dubuque, while also qualifying for the playoffs every season. This included finishing top of the Eastern Confernce this past season and making it all the way to the Clark Cup Championship, albeit they ultimately lost to the Fargo Force in four games.

What's interesting about this news, is that Larsson wasn't even looking for a new job. He was more than happy with the Fighting Saints.

However, fate had other ideas for the 42-year-old. As per Jim Leitner of the Telegraph Herald, he said: "The one thing that really stood out in this process was how it all happened. It was all very organic. The Oilers really got to know me over the last few months and appreciated my ideas and what I brought to the table. It never really felt like a job interview. I just came to the realization that we align on a lot of our ideas and we can help each other out a lot. That was all very intriguing to me."

Larsson's prime objective with the Oilers

Larsson went on to speak to Leitner about what the main aim is, for his new role with the Oilers. He said: "This is an all-encompassing position. The main objective is to establish how we maximise every Oiler’s chance to become an NHLer, from drafted prospects to guys who are with the NHL team. It’s not an on-ice role, but it will be strategic as far as how we measure development."

It should be noted that Larsson did also play as a centre for four seasons with the Lawrence University Vikings in NCAA III. As per the university's official athletics website, current Vikings head coach Brett Wall said: "As an alum and a former coach, we are so proud and pleased with what Kalle's done. I really can't wait to see what he does there. The impact he's going to have on that organisation is going to be tremendous."

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Certainly, Larsson has a sterling reputation within the hockey community for discovering, drafting and developing players. However, it will now be put to the ultimate test with an Oilers organisation which has fallen short over the last decade plus, when it comes to identifying and getting the most out of prospects.