The draft’s top defenseman may be able to play in the National Hockey League next year.
But he may not be ready.
Swedish defender Adam Larsson, ranked fourth by Future Considerations heading into the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, may not be a lock to suit up in North America next season.
Larsson, the most NHL-ready defenseman eligible for the draft in Minnesota on June 25th, may return to Skelleftea for the 2011-12 in Sweden’s Elite League.
“I can play in the NHL next year (despite being under contract) but I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do next season,” Larsson told NHL.com. “But I’m ready, but am still learning every day. I think if I do decide to play in North America, I want to feel very prepared for it.”
Larsson had nine points in 37 games this season with Skelleftea after recording 17 points in 49 games as a 17-year-old. In six games at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo, Larsson had five points.
Claes Elefalk, Larsson’s agent, is prepared for his client to spend another season in Sweden.
“Normally in most cases, we Euros think it’s sometimes an advantage to stay one or two seasons after the Draft,” Elefalk told NHL.com. “It’s a tremendous culture change but it’s not unusual to see players playing in Europe stay there an additional year or two. Victor Hedman was an exception but we’ll have to see what happens. Our belief is we’ll stay another year or two in Sweden.”
Another year in Sweden shouldn’t impact the blueliner’s draft stock. Larsson is widely regarded as the top defenseman available in the draft and hasn’t been ranked lower than fourth overall after debuting this season as the second-ranked prospect available.
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!