Should the Devils Trade Adam Larsson?


Well, this is the question we hoped would never be asked. Through two games, Adam Larsson has already been scratched twice and seems to be very disgruntled about it.

When the Devils drafted Larsson as the fourth overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, they clearly had high hopes for him. The guy that played exclusively in Sweden, whether it was the junior leagues, the SHL, or for the national junior team, Larsson knew only Swedish hockey. This may have been the Devils’ first mistake.

More from Devils News

Now I’m not a European hockey stud, far from it. I take bits and pieces from the leagues and don’t follow in-depth more often than not. I would imagine it is very different in Europe compared to North America.

First, the competition is obviously greater here in the junior leagues and professional leagues alike. Larsson never had to go to the junior leagues here because he had plenty of time to do that in Sweden. What they did was put Larsson immediately into the team (like you see with so many other high profile draft picks) and he played 70 games in 2011-12 if you include five playoff games.

He put up 18 points (16 assists) in the regular season, but also recorded a lackluster -7 rating.

The next season he split time in Albany and New Jersey. In New Jersey, he played 37 games and only registered 6 points, but also registered a +4. Better, but it seems that you only get one or the other out of Adam.

Now’s where things get rough.

Last season, the Devils toyed with Larsson and he played the majority of his games in Albany last season and didn’t receive many chances once Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill made their splashes.

So what happened?

The Devils did the exact opposite of how you want to grow and develop a player. They went all-in on him the first season and then dwindled his minutes down as time went on.

Some argue that he hasn’t proven himself as the prodigy he was once heralded as, but many others argue that he hasn’t been given enough time in the NHL.

The Devils took a horrific approach in “developing” Larsson and it may be time to trade him before it’s too late.

This season, the Devils did it again. Their new prodigy, Damon Severson, made the team after a strong preseason and completely jumped Adam in the depth chart. While I think Damon deserves it (and I want him to play if he is on the NHL roster), this is clearly a sucker punch to Larsson. Sure, Bryce Salvador should not be dressing on most nights, but Tom Gulitti brought up a good point the other day.

To paraphrase, if the Devils were to scratch Salvador or if he gets injured, the Devils would simply call up Seth Helgeson or Peter Harrold to fit Salvador’s style. Salvador going down does not mean that Larsson earns a spot. I think the Devils have made their final decision on Adam. Don’t forget, three young defensemen with his play style have now jumped him in the roster.

Now, I’m not saying a trade is imminent or trying to start rumors where they don’t exist; this is merely speculation.

After his first scratch Adam said to the media:

"“This is a tough time for me because I worked out hard in the summer and I thought I had a good training camp,” Larsson said. “So, this is probably the toughest healthy scratch I’ve been going through. But, you can’t really focus on it too much or let it get in your way or in your head.Tom Gulitti, Fire and Ice"

Larsson is understandably growing impatient with his role on the team. As his Entry Level contract expired this past summer, Larsson signed a 1-year, 1-way, $900,000 contract to basically guarantee him an NHL roster spot. Unfortunately, this may lead to him being a healthy scratch on most nights.

Also, in case you were wondering, Larsson will be a Restricted Free Agent once again when his contract expires in the summer of 2015, so the Devils can stick him in the same limbo that Eric Gelinas was in for most of the summer.

This may be why it is best for the Devils to trade him away. It isn’t the popular choice, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it may be the most logical choice.

Adam Larsson still has value in a trade. His defensive play could use a bit of tweaking but he is still young and is trying to find himself. The Devils took a horrific approach in “developing” Larsson and it may be time to trade him before it’s too late.

Just ask Jacob Josefson.