Larsson Watch: AHL/NHL Issue A Tricky One

There were a few Adam Larsson questions during yesterday’s Pete DeBoer presser, although strangely no mention of “The Larsson Watch.” Hmm. Strange. Anyway, I promise I didn’t ask any of them, but I felt I would be remiss not to share them. DeBoer was asked if Larsson wasn’t playing because of something he wasn’t doing or because of the team’s success without him. His answer was pretty straight forward:

We’ve given up 18 shots the first night, 24 last night. Won both games, given up one goal against. It’s tough to make lineup changes. At the same time, I thought Lars had a great training camp. I mean, he’s an NHL defenseman, so I understand his disappointment with not playing, but I think I said back in training camp, with the way our schedule is: everybody here’s  gonna get a chance to play. Just a matter of when.

So should Larsson be in the AHL instead?

I think if he hadn’t already played 30-plus games down there you might sit and think maybe he should be playing. Obviously if this gets into an extended period – which I don’t think it will – that’s something you might have to revisit. He should be here. He deserves to be here and I’m sure he’ll get in soon.

Corey Griffin

I’ll be very interested in the lines at practice today to see whether Larsson gets time with one of the other top six defensemen. Although, judging from DeBoer’s words, I wouldn’t count on it. The AHL/NHL point is a fair one and one we’ve stressed here. If he sits for a while, they’re hurting his development and likely ticking him off in the process. DeBoer knows Larsson will bide his time, but he also knows a kid wit the motivation and work ethic to get top prospect status will eventually want to see the ice. The thing that worries me now is if Larsson sits for too long, will he put too much pressure on himself to deliver when he finally does get in the lineup? It won’t be a permanent step back or anything like that, but it could be a situation where he forces the issue in his first couple games back in the lineup and DeBoer is forced to go back to the vets, which leaves Larsson back in no-man’s land. These are tricky times, indeed.