New Jersey Devils blueliner Adam Larsson has been a disappointment at times, especially to those who took the Victor Hedman comparisons a little too seriously.
Still, he finally showed flashes of brilliance once he was “liberated from Peter DeBoer’s prison for young defensemen,” as Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski wrote. Apparently the Devils saw enough to sign him to one of those deals that stands as risky today, but could be brilliant down the line: six years, $25 million.
Again, considering his production at this point, a $4.167 million cap hit seems a little steep. Larsson’s just 22 right now – he’ll turn 23 in November – so it isn’t crazy to ponder a significant leap. Defensemen take longer to develop, after all.
Devils GM Ray Shero definitely seems to think that the young Swede’s best days are ahead of him, as the Bergen Record notes.
“I think he’s only scratched the surface of the kind of player he’s going to be,” Shero said. “There’s a reason he was drafted when he was. He’s got a lot of experience already. He’s played a lot of ice time on the (penalty kill) and 5-on-5. He hasn’t had the chance to play a lot on the power play, yet.”
Shero believes the contract stands as a “good deal for both sides,” as Larsson gets a long-term deal while the Devils buy three of his unrestricted years.
Ultimately, though, we’ll probably look at it as either an overpay for a somewhat disappointing prospect (selected fourth overall in 2011) or a brilliant steal for a player who finally hits his prime.
In other words, if things work out, the Hedman comparisons might not be so outrageous after all.