We’re at the point in the draft cycle where hockey men use hyperbole to describe the future. Ken Hitchcock has Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as a cross between a young Joe Sakic and a young Pavel Datsyk; Sean Couturier`s last name should be ‘Staal’ according to the comparables; and Adam Larsson is better than Lidstrom at this age. Apparently.
What does it all mean? Hell if I know. As a fan, I like to look at the numbers and try to apply common sense to them. For instance, Adam Larsson is still a kid but is playing in a man’s league. So, despite the impressive numbers of RNH and others, we need to pay special heed to what the big Swedish defender is doing now that the playoffs have arrived.
How is he doing? Well. His boxcars are 6gp, 0-2-2 -2 but as with all boxcars it’s a black and white photo in dire need of color. Here’s the back story on his playoff:
- Game 1: 24:24 TOI even, 1 shot on goal and 2 hits in a win
- Game 2: 23:19 TOI -1, 2 shots on goal and 1 hit in a loss
- Game 3: 22:45 TOI even, 1 shot and 3 hits in another loss
- Game 4: 24:37 TOI even, 2 shots in a win
- Game 5: 21:47 TO! 1 assist, 3 shots on goal 2 pims and 3 hits in a win
- Game 6: 22:14 TOI -1, 1 assist, 3 shots and 2 pims and 1 hit in a loss
- Game 7: today
He’s averaging 23:11TOI during the post-season after averaging 18:44 during the regular season. Here are the Skelleftea blue with their playoff time-on-ice per game:
- Adam Larsson 23:11
- Tim Erixon 22:11
- David Rundblad 20:20
- Fredrik Lindgren 20:04
- Niclas Burstrom 18:18
- Ivan Majesky 15:18
Based on their experience and skill sets, I’d suggest that Rundblad and either Erixon or Lindgren are getting the powerplay minutes, leaving Larsson to evens and PK. We talked about Larsson and his scouting reports here and we know that the Oilers have a laundry list of needs rolling out over the next several years.
As we get closer to the draft–and with the understanding that some of these CHL forwards are kicking out the jams and making big impressions–it is becoming increasingly difficult to argue against Jim Matheson’s logic (stated most recently here). Last night, the Edmonton Oilers "hockey winter" reached a climax as the Avalanche drove the Oildrop further down the elevator shaft.
Spring arrives today, and with it the promise of renewal and growth. Staring at the numbers and sifting through the things our good friend math can tell us, Adam Larsson is extremely likely to be the best player available on draft day. Full stop.