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 IQ, Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com and hockey-reference)
78GP, 4-14-18 (.231)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- What the hell is that? From Puck IQ: Dangerous 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?