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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Adam Larsson: Could you be the one?

Fans of Hüsker Dü will catch the reference in the post title, even if that single was a little too mainstream for my taste.

Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson could do what Victor Hedman could not in 2009: make a convincing enough case to be the top pick in the NHL draft and the first Swede to go No. 1 since Mats Sundin way back in 1989 (the only one from that Scandinavian nation to ever get the top billing in the draft, btw-- not even the great Peter Forsberg was able to to do it).

I wrote this scouting report on Larsson back in May based on what I saw from him in the World Jr. tourney and talking to scouts a lot more familiar with him than I.

We'll kick off the Euro draft watch list with this profile, and in my opinion, Larsson deserves his own separate post. I'll finish the rest of the Euros before the sun sets on the labor day holiday.

Be good, and have fun at your barbecues...

Adam Larsson, D Skelleftea 6-2, 205 Shoots: R 21 NOV 92 (Eligible in 2011)

As of now, the prime competition for top overall selection in next year's draft, along with Drummondville forward Sean Couturier. A fluid and powerful skater who gets up to speed quickly and can change directions/recover rapidly. Excellent athlete; shows very strong balance and opens his hips/pivots well. Reads and anticipates the play and transitions the puck rapidly up the ice. Possesses an absolute howitzer for a shot; will wind up and drive the puck with violent torque, or is smart enough to recognize when time/space is limited and snaps off a hard, low bullet from the point. Creative; identifies shooting or passing lanes and then hits them with the appropriate play. A potential franchise cornerstone-type 'D' who can do it all. His biggest challenge next season will be to overcome the inevitable dissection of his game by scouts who have seen him emerge as a premier talent and will be looking to pick him apart in 2010-11.

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