RE 17-18 ADAM LARSSON: MY HERO

Adam Larsson had a fine season in 2016-17 for the Edmonton Oilers. A team that spent over a decade with a saloon-doors defense finally added a rugged player who could play defense and form half of an effective top pairing. His dependable play helped settle what had been a runaway train since the fall of 2006. (My Hero).

ADAM LARSSON 2016-17

  • 5×5 points per 60: 0.73 (4th among regular defensemen)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 0.00 (13 total minutes 5×4)
  • Corsi for 5×5 %: 50.0
  • Corsi Rel 5×5 %: -0.4
  • DFF Elite 5×5 %: 48.5
  • DFF Elite Rel 5×5 %: +0.2 (35 percent of TOI v. elites)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 85 shots/4.7%
  • Boxcars: 79, 4-15-19
  • (All numbers via Puck IQStats.HockeyAnalysis.com and hockey-reference)

78GP, 4-14-18 (.231)

  1. What one thing did he bring that helped the Oilers? I think he calmed the waters on the Klefbom pairing, allowing Oscar to wheel. Larsson is the defensive conscience of the pairing and also brings a physical element. He’s no fun to play against and is effective in the danger areas. That’s a big deal.
  2. What does he do well defensively? He marks his man well, understands the idea of gaps and manages his half of the ice well. If he gets caught flat footed he will recover and he (and this is a very good thing) understands the difference between a good penalty and being foolish. He might want to help others in this area.
  3. Can he make that play you’re always talking about? Larsson stands up his man very well, and he can scoot back and gain possession. If there’s one thing I’d love to add to his game, it’s an extra half step of speed.
  4. What did the possession numbers tell us? Traditional (Corsi 5×5 for percentage) tells us he played opponents to a draw and his Corsi Rel is slightly better than the group. That’s good, Edmonton needs as many pairings above water as possible, and we know he played lots of minutes against tough opposition.
  5. What does WoodMoney say? Woodmoney’s are the color photo with high def for measuring these pairings. Larsson’s DFF (Dangerous Fenwick For) percentage rel against elites is into the black (that is good). He played 481 minutes against elite competition and played them to 48.5 percent overall. This compares to partner Oscar Klefbom (480 minutes, 48 percent), and second pairing Andrej Sekera (459 minutes, 47 percent) and Kris Russell (418 minutes, 47.8 percent). All of this 5×5.
  6. So he played the most against elites and had the best Dangerous Fenwick? Yes, but it’s very close. I would say the Klefbom-Larsson pairing were the class of the group and give us hope for the future. The Sekera-Russell pairing was very close in terms of how much they played elite opponents, and their possession numbers are close enough for jazz.
  7. So, if the top 4D is Klefbom-Larsson, Sekera-Russell, you’re happy? I would prefer Russell LH side and perhaps Benning RHD on the second pairing. That said, the top four you mention had success a year ago and none of them are turning 33 this season.
  8. I’ve read a lot of arguing about Larsson and his overall ability. I don’t think that’s true, even Scott Cullen’s famous tweet was more about the ongoing and endless discussion of the trade and its value. For me, Larsson is a quality defender and that has value. If you look at what he brings offensively, there’s not much heading that way and some folks don’t value the defensive side. That’s a discussion, not an argument. In my opinion.
  9. Is Larsson a complete defenseman? He doesn’t meet my definition of the word, but that wasn’t my expectation. I like Mark Fayne and his ability to defend, so Larsson is a player I can see value in. Others may not feel that way, it’s a conversation we can have.
  10. What do you value? I like Corsi and really like Dangerous Fenwick versus elites. If you have enough TOI in that area you are really getting close to the heart of the story. In my opinion. I am also increasingly fascinated by a Puck IQ stat called DFF60RC.
  11. What the hell is that? From Puck IQDangerous Fenwick For per 60 minutes of time on ice relative to the player’s team mates Dangerous Fenwick For per 60 minutes of time on ice vs. the same level of competition when the player is not on the ice. Source
  12. What do the results say? Larsson, along with Klefbom, sit at around +3.0 compared to team mates last season. Versus elites. That’s fantastic. Source.
  13. What does it mean? Always important to mention the McDavid factor in these things, but the Oilers were substantially more successful with those two men (and Eric Gryba) on the ice. Sekera (-2.94) and Russell (-3.34) were flagging compared to the rest of the group. I think that’s important.
  14. How much did McDavid play with Klefbom-Larsson against elites? Puck IQ doesn’t yet have that information but I would guess the Swedes had the edge and played more against elites with Connor McDavid.
  15. So you’ve adopted this stat? No, we need to find out more and color in some of the areas. That said, this is most promising.
  16. Why is it promising? We’re drilling down now, big time. I’m old enough to remember the promise of plus minus, which did in fact reveal previously hidden facts. I also know the value of 5×5 GF-GA and Corsi and Fenwick. However, the ‘binning’ being done by the ‘Puck IQ rhythm method’ is just really exciting. We are seeing power v. power, who reacts well, what the coach is thinking, this is the good stuff, sledgehammer.
  17. Back to Larsson. Will people value him? Seems to have gotten good reviews this season, I hope there’s an understanding of what he brings. I think it is difficult to prove defensive value, so the Puck IQ stats may actually help prove Larsson has substantial value to those who don’t think pure defending has high value.
  18. Poor Terry Harper. Heh. Funny you should mention Harper because that is exactly the kind of player I believe this metric would have benefited decades ago.
  19. People value Adam Larsson. Sure, in a 103-point season. People are fickle, if the coming season offers a lot of difficulty, suspect we’ll begin to hear the negative about him.
  20. But not from you? Hey, I value Adam Larsson and Kris Russell and Mark Fayne and Darnell Nurse and Eric Gryba. I value players who defend. Modern fans and stats don’t do a good job of figuring out situational stats, so the quicker Puck IQ brings evidence the better off these defensive players will be, in my opinion.
  21. You sure say ‘in my opinion’ a lot. Gives folks a chance to get a head start on preparing their disagreements. It’s like a cheat sheet.
  22. If DFF ultimately tells you Adam Larsson has low value and is a passenger, will you accept that? I don’t think DFF will show us that, rather give us a purer view of the defensive side of the game. We already have Larsson surrounded offensively, but no advanced stats person I know believes defending has no value. This is being pursued because it’s important, and DFF is going to drill down and give us a wonderful view of this side of the game. Does Larsson defend against elites? Does he do it well? Is he defending too much for TOI? This is damned exciting and I think Puck IQ is driving this conversation in an important direction.
  23. Why this song? Decades ago, the Montreal Alouettes had this brilliant running back named Johnny Rodgers. He was called ‘The Ordinary Superstar’ and that’s a pretty cool nickname. Larsson is an ‘ordinary hero’ for the Oilers in that his defensive acumen calms the waters enough for the team to get their bearings and find creative ways to break out. I believe that has tremendous value, perhaps others feel the same.

RE 17-18 DEFENSE (RUNNING TOTAL)

With Andrej Sekera out of the lineup to begin the season, Edmonton is looking at Oscar Klefbom and Matt Benning as the likely power-play options in the everyday lineup. The defenders scored 35 goals and 105 assists one year ago, can this group reach those totals without Andrej Sekera for a full season?

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33 Responses to "RE 17-18 ADAM LARSSON: MY HERO"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    I actually thought that Larsson’s offence would spike a bit more than it did last year playing on a more offensive-minded team.

    I still think he has more offence in him as, for the first half of the year, we would defer to Klef to move the puck up ice – once he settled in, he started moving the puck a little more.

    Anyways, don’t really care about “offence” as long as he’s efficient at moving the puck and doing exactly what he did last year.

    Our GM acquired a perfect player for what this team needed.

  2. Pink Socks says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Agreed on all points. He may get that additional push in his numbers this year. His Game 1 vs. Anaheim shows he does have the ability, but I expect he continues to defer to Klefbom when possible.

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    Deferring to Oscar is generally a good idea except it does slow down the transition, obviously.

  4. deankb says:

    I also thought Adam would spike more offensively but I didn’t expect as much from Klef so revenue neutral I guess.

    What I really enjoyed is how nasty he can be. I was shocked in a game against the Canucks when he was feeding one of the Sedin’s over and over with cross checks, I kinda enjoyed that…:)

  5. OriginalPouzar says:

    Absolutely, I agree, he plays much meaner on the ice that I anticipated.

    Definitely ups the “tough to play against” factor of the team.

  6. treevojo says:

    Yamamoto updated on capfriendly.

    230,000 performance bonuses for each season.

    Should be manageable for Chiarelli.

  7. Lowetide says:

    treevojo:
    Yamamoto updated on capfriendly.

    230,000 performance bonuses for each season.

    Should be manageable for Chiarelli.

    You’d be better off capwise sending Puljujarvi to the minors and keeping Yamamoto

  8. treevojo says:

    Lowetide: You’d be better off capwise sending Puljujarvi to the minors and keeping Yamamoto

    A low performance bonus is certainly another feather in KYs cap.

    If he has a good camp and preseason a lot of jaws might be dropping come game one’s national anthem when people look at the guy next to Connors elbow.

  9. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    – great post LT!

    – I think you are slow playing Larsson’s contribution to this team. I don’t think the Stats available fully relfect his value. I don’t think Corsi is a good evaluator of defensem as it’s a stat that gathers data from all 5 players on the ice. I know that teams don’t value corsi as a measure of d prowess.

    – I think you correctly identify that he was half of the the top pairing D but underestimate what that actually means to a team.

    – Conner was by far the single greatest net difference maker to the team YoY and I suspect that one day we will able to confirm the importance of the #1 RHD

  10. OriginalPouzar says:

    The organization needs Yamamoto to provide three value contract seasons during the course of his ELC.

    While I can’t say for certainty that he wont be “ready” to play a material role in the top 6 and be able to produce both with and without McDavid, I think its a pretty big stretch.

    I would be remiss of they wasted a value contract year “finding out” if he’s ready.

    If he’s ready, he’s ready but I think its going to be a pretty easy decision to let this players light up the WHL and star in Buffalo over Christmas.

  11. jtblack says:

    Jimmy Carson scored 100 points for Edmonton in 1989. He was dealt the next season. Carson could never replace the person he was traded for … This happens in sports sometimes. I think we have to take out the other side of a trade, because player A cannot help his acquisition cost. For debates sake, sure, we can discuss, but if we just look at what that person brought to their team after acquisition; How many people would say they were surprised, to the upside, by Adam Larsson? I for one was surprised how GOOD defensively he was and due to limited knowledge of the player, VERY surprised how physical Larsson was – game in and game out!

    Larsson endeared himself to most of the fanbase with a rock solid season, followed up by a terrific playoff!

    Looking for forward to watching him and Klefbom take it up another level next season!

  12. flyfish1168 says:

    The OIlers are a better team at protecting the skill players now. KY without a doubt has the skill to play in the NHL. But physically I don’t believe he is ready. He needs to gain some old man strength. I don’t want to see him get hurt like Taylor and Ryan during their rookie year. There are reasons why Jordan never got any major injuries. Teach KY how to protect himself. Play him in controlled situations over a few games and then send him down. Let him get a taste and then make him hungry to fight for it. Not many 22nd picks makes it at his age. JMHO

  13. jtblack says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    I know it’s impossible to compare players to one another, but Yamamoto gets a lot of comparision to Tyler Johnson. Johnson played 4 yrs in the WHL and then 2 full seasons in the AHL. Although Yammer seems to have a higher skill set (way more points in year 3 WHL); I Think the patient approach is best for him. RNH was rushed when he wasn’t physically ready. Yammer at 20 or 21 will be much more solid and ready for the rigors of NHL life. …… Patience ……

  14. Bag of Pucks says:

    6’3″ 215 mean and nasty. Around 20 points a season. Total glue guy.

    Reminds me of another Oiler that fit that description. Gator.

    You can win with guys like this : )

  15. OriginalPouzar says:

    Part of the “problem” I see with Yamamoto is his style of play – he is not a perimeter player that avoids contact and dirty areas – he’s aggressive and will go at players and initiate contact.

    Generally that is a very good trait that we’d be happy a prospect has, however, in this case, it has the potential to delay the player’s ability to play in the NHL, if not limit it.

    Not saying he’ll have to change how he plays to be more like John G. down south but I’m a little worried about his durability at the pro level.

    Most players aren’t eating hotdogs out of the Stanley Cup in mid-August.

  16. OriginalPouzar says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    6’3″ 215 mean and nasty. Around 20 points a season. Total glue guy.

    Reminds me of another Oiler that fit that description. Gator.

    You can win with guys like this : )

    Lets not forget that Gator didn’t really establish himself as very very good defensive d-man with the attributes you mention until he came over from the Leafs (what a great trade) and was in his mid-late 20s.

    Larsson is already that player and he’s, what, 24?

  17. jtblack says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    +1/

    And Love the Phil Instagram … Phil gets the last laugh and the last hot dog …

  18. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar:

    I still think he has more offence in him as, for the first half of the year, we would defer to Klef to move the puck up ice – once he settled in, he started moving the puck a little more.

    2nd half: 38-2-11-13 and +22 (!!)

    The offense definitely spiked, and agree with your other points.

  19. jp says:

    Lowetide,

    I guess you’re aware of Hall’s DFFRC60 and raw DFF% vs elites?

  20. OriginalPouzar says:

    Isn’t it great when the stats matchup with the eye-test.

    Thank you for providing the confirmation.

  21. stush18 says:

    I think this all depends on how much the swedes olay together.

    If nurse and Larsson become a thing because the pairings are suffering without sekera, I think you will see his offence spike.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to see him climb above 20-25 points

  22. dustrock says:

    Loved that Larsson game against Anaheim. Can tell he enjoys playing hockey.

    Other than foot speed and sometimes doing the “flip the puck out of danger”, no qualms with this player.

  23. stush18 says:

    Lowetide: You’d be better off capwise sending Puljujarvi to the minors and keeping Yamamoto

    LT is yammer your new Marc pouliot? 😜

  24. theDjdj says:

    Game 1 of the Anaheim series convinced me of what Devils fans were say when we traded for Larsson: he has the offensive potential.

    As others pointed Larsson was on like a 40 point pace at the back half of the year.

    He has aplomb and man strength. His value will forever be linked to Halls. Not fair on the player.

  25. Lowetide says:

    jp:
    Lowetide,

    I guess you’re aware of Hall’s DFFRC60 and raw DFF% vs elites?

    Hadn’t looked at it, no. Anything rel is going to be good though.

  26. Lowetide says:

    stush18: LT is yammer your new Marc pouliot? 😜

    Sadly, I haven’t been able to adopt a first-round pick and watch him fail for five years. Nail was the last I’m afraid. 🙂

  27. Thinker says:

    I don’t think there will be pushback on Larsson, since the consensus around town is Hall was an asshole and a cancer. That is unlikely to change, whether you believe it or not. Might sour on Larsson’s 4m contract though, even though it is a bargain. Could definitely see him forced outta town near his renegotiation year. Damn shame Edmonton is such a fickle bunch.

  28. Bruce McCurdy says:

    LT: I know you are following a standard format with the song titles, but the title of this post made me laugh out loud.

    Larsson finished tied for 60th among d-men with 19 even strength points. Not great but far from terrible. no powerplay points padding his numbers, as usual. He now has played 328 games — four full seasons — without a single powerplay point. He has 4 in his career, every one of them in the “2011” portion of his rookie season of 2011-12 while Jersey was still trying to figure It what kind of player they had. Since then, bupkis.

    That’s not a positive in itself, obviously, but other guys can play powerplay. What it does mean is that Larsson’s 20 points/season are bought & paid for to an extraordinary degree. Enough offence to cover the bet, even as his primary strength is his defensive game. Which is extraordinarily advanced for a guy who is not yet 25. Not sure we’ve seen the ceiling just yet.

  29. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    ^ this all day long.

    Lots of talk this summer about tempering expectations, Reg on the IR, regressions etc. all of which are fair but there’s a flip side to that when 2/3 of your team is under 25, won convincingly last year without a crutch like a sky high PDO. The team could simply improve due to the players being one year old and one year more experienced. When your trump card to avoid taking that angle seriously is injuries to key players well that’s fair sure but that’s also unpredictable and in the case of a guy like Looch unheard over his entire career.

    All this to say. Thanks for the RE series LT, the dog days are coming to an end, rookie camp is just around the corner which means training camp follows that.

    Oddsmakers have the Oilers right behind the Pens to challenge for the Cup this year.

    https://www.thescore.com/news/1350861

    Is it pie in the sky or the opening glimpse of a Decade of Dominance (TM)? I dunno yet but once Leon puts pen to paper I know where my bias will be and oh my am I excited for that.

  30. season not played says:

    Right shooting Stud.

  31. OriginalPouzar says:

    Hmmmm, great points Bruce,

    60th in ES points for a defensive stud is pretty darn good.

    How many of those ES points are attributed to Klef? To McDavid? Actually, who cares.

    Love this players.

    Just stay healthy Adam.

  32. McNuge93 says:

    It really is amazing how in one year the defence was transformed into a very capable NHL defence. Our defence prior to that was probably NHL worst. And credit to the fans who saw a fan favorite traded for a defensive defenseman but recognized and appreciate his value to the team.

  33. hags9k says:

    He is Gator 2.0. I agree LT is slow playing his contributions. As I read the post I can still feel the effects of the trade on our beloved host. The cost was very high but this is a fantastic add by Chiarelli and one of the main catalysts to the 16-17 seasons’ huge success.

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