Last week I looked at the points, ice time and shots on goal of top prospect Adam Larsson compared to his Skelleftea teammates Tim Erixon and David Rundblad. Both Erixon and Rundblad had been with Skelleftea for a few years and I thought it important to note the ice time they logged as they gained more experience and for lack of a better term 'grew up'. My conclusion in that post was:
In a nutshell all of this information means that Larsson is very, very good for his age and the responsibility/ice-time he has received in the SEL should speak to the ability many believe he has.
When I set out to write last week's post one player I wanted to include in the comparison was Victor Hedman. I personally hate when analysts of any sport lock onto a comparable player just because of race or origin country similarities but because of the competitiveness of the Swedish Elite League I will allow myself to do so in this one instance. The only problem was I was unable to find time-on-ice stats for Hedman since he played in the SEL a few years ago. Finally, I was able to figure out how to access older stats on the SEL site. After the jump I compare the age 16 and 17 stats for Adam Larsson and Victor Hedman.
(Sidebar: Fun drinking games for draft night. Non-alcoholic beverages of course. A shot for every time Larsson is compared to Hedman. One for each time 'he plays with men' is said in some variation about any foreign prospect. A shot for everytime 'Sea Dog' is said. That's pretty much all you should need to be sound asleep by pick 11)
A few items jumped out at me.
1. Larsson was likely a second pairing defenseman for his team when he was 16 while Hedman seemed to be a third pairing defenseman.
2. Larsson didn't have as much influence in the offensive zone as Hedman seemed to have. This could be the result of having Larsson in more defensive situations, however Hedman averaged almost 2.5 shots per game while Larsson averaged a little less than 1.5. I can't find individual time-on-ice stats for situational play so for all we know Hedman was on every power play that MODO had, which helped his shot total.
3. In their age 17 seasons both played premium minutes for their respective clubs. Larsson however, played big minutes in the playoffs over 18 games in this year and 8 games the previous season. In both of his primary SEL seasons Hedman only played in 5 playoff games.
Here is some interesting data about Hedman's plus 21 when he was 17. Adjusting for power play/short handed goals, Hedman ended up on a team that had an even strength goal differential of -5. Generating a plus 21 is pretty impressive. While impressive, remember that the goals were scored on a team that did not make the SEL playoffs and that was horrific on the power play (last in the SEL at 14.79%). So if he was playing big minutes and some on the power play he was part of that poor power play production.
Also, not that I want Larsson to be a clone of Hedman but in his two years since joining the league Hedman has played pretty well. Consider that at age 19 Hedman is leading the Lightning in the following playoff statistics:even strength playing time, Corsi ratings, and quality of competition I am very impressed. Now consider that some think Larsson will be better than Hedman, that Larsson was more of a trusted player for a better team in the SEL and.....wow...that's all I can say.
OK, I am going to stop myself before I put Larsson in a Devils jersey, since at pick #4 he might not be available for them to take.
As with last week's post the information above serves to show you how good Larsson currently. He is not guaranteed to develop as quickly as Hedman did at the NHL level nor should he be expected to. But when I think about the fact that Larsson could be a New Jersey Devil and have an impact in a playoff game in less than two years......
Thanks for reading and sound off below!