There are several intriguing defencemen who could slide into the lower half of the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft.
One of those players is Swede Jacob Larsson, who spent the 2014-15 season with Frolunda in the Swedish League and the SuperElit.
Here’s everything you need to know about Larsson:
Age on June 26: 18
Weight: 191 pounds
From: Ljungby, Sweden
NHL Central Scouting Rank (European): 3rd
Marek’s Take: An extremely versatile blueliner who gets around the ice with ease. He doesn’t do anything spectacularly but is a good mix of size and skill, Larsson could really be a steal depending on where he’s taken. Comparable: Chris Tanev
Larsson registered eight goals and 11 assists in 30 games with Frolunda’s U-20 team in SuperElit before he was promoted to play with the big club in the Swedish Hockey League, where he recorded three points in 20 games. Those numbers may not jump off the page at first glance, but that’s why context is important. The fact he was given a look on Frolunda’s top team at his age is an impressive feat. He is extremely mature and scouts believe he has strong leadership qualities.
Internationally, he is accomplished as well, representing Sweden at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship, 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. He was named the top defenceman in Sweden’s under-18 league in 2013-14, registering 12 points in 17 regular-season games before adding six points in five playoff games.
Similar to another Swedish defenceman
Larsson tries to emulate his style of play after his favourite NHL player, Arizona Coyotes defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Both are mobile, smooth-skating defencemen with size, good vision, and an outstanding breakout pass. The Swede is a sound decision maker in all three zones of the ice and his coaches have been impressed with his hockey IQ.
Work in progress?
Larsson offers a wide range of skills. He is a reliable puck mover. He skates well with a solid first stride and has an active stick in his own end. But he is hardly a finished product. Many are of the belief that he won’t make an instant impact and will need time to adjust to the North American game. But that’s hardly a knock on him.
The rangy defender needs to add bulk to his frame and use his body more to knock defenders off the puck. If he can add that to his game, he has the potential to be a very impactful player at the next level
Other random tidbits (via NHL.com):
Favourite video game: FIFA 14
Movie: The Shawshank Redemption
Actor: Johnny Depp
Sport (other than hockey): Soccer, tennis
Athlete (non-hockey): Roger Federer