On the morning of the NHL Expansion Draft, The Seattle Kraken signed one of their first NHL-caliber players by inking former first-round pick and Edmonton Oilers defenseman, Adam Larsson. His new deal carries an annual average value (AAV) of $4 million over four seasons.
According to several free-agent rankings, Larsson’s name was among the top 20 players available. As a former top-pairing defenceman with the New Jersey Devils, Larsson was traded to the Oilers in exchange for Taylor Hall after the 2015-16 season.
The deal sent shock ways through the NHL as Hall just came off a 65-point campaign in Edmonton. Many questioned the sanity of then-Oilers general manager Pete Chiarelli. As many may remember, Hall would win the Hart Memorial Trophy in his second season in New Jersey, while Larsson adjusted to a new role in Edmonton.
Larsson came to Edmonton one season into the six-year contract he signed with the Devils in 2015-16, which carried a cap hit of $4.16 million a year. After the trade news died down, Larsson eventually saw his name drift down the depth chart even though he still contributed at a high level for the duration of his deal.
Fit With the Seattle Kraken
Seattle wasn’t done dealing early on Wednesday morning as it was announced the team is also closing in on signing defenseman Jamie Oleksiak from the Dallas Stars. Oleksiak has been in the league almost as long as Larsson (nine seasons) and should help shore up a defensive corps looking to make an immediate impact when the season starts.
Larsson, meanwhile, just finished his 10th season in the league. He’s played in 603 contests, collecting 137 points on 25 goals and 112 assists. His best season came in 2014-15 with the Devils when he scored 24 points thanks to 21 assists and three goals. Larsson played in all 56 games in 2020-21, marking the third time in his career he’s played an entire season. Despite a rough 2018-19 season when he was minus-28, the native of Shelleftea, Sweden, is plus-18 in his career.
Larsson will join the Kraken to suit up as a second or third pairing defenceman. Fans should expect Larsson to play an average of 19 to 20 minutes a night and serve a veteran presence with younger defenders still learning their craft.
Although Larsson doesn’t play on the power play, he excels in a shutdown role. The defender has 1,063 blocked shots, 1,454 hits, and just 347 penalty minutes throughout his career.
Pieces In, Pieces Out
On July 13th, 2021, the Oilers traded for former Chicago Blackhawk and three-time Stanley Cup Champion Duncan Keith. The team already had a log jam on the back end with a handful of household names, like Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, and Tyson Barrie. Some young guns are ready to make the jump, like Philip Broberg or Ethan Bear, the latter of whom proved he can at the NHL level.
Having all these players on the roster meant someone was going to be on the move. Now Larsson will join his third NHL team and be given a chance to succeed in a new environment.
Ryan Gagne is one of the newest members of The Hockey Writers, covering the New York Islanders. He grew up in a small town in northern New Hampshire, where he idolized the Boston Bruins. Before moving to Canada in 2008, he was the equipment manager for his high school varsity hockey team and a sports journalist for the local newspapers. Ryan has been active in the hockey community, whether coaching, officiating, instructing, or playing. He is the ultimate rink rat with 19 years of experience making ice and driving the Zamboni. An avid fantasy sports player, Ryan created a blog, Keeping the Stats, where he dissects his teams and brags about his 2020 fantasy football championship. Outside of hockey, his life revolves around the New York Yankees, much to his wife’s chagrin.