Kraken’s Larsson Has Excelled Through First 10 Games

Adam Larsson is proving to be one of the best selections from the Seattle Kraken’s expansion draft 10 games into the season. His steadiness on the blueline and ability to generate offence five-on-five have been crucial for the Kraken as the team still tries to gel as a unit. Here is a breakdown of how the former Edmonton Oilers’ defender has done so far this season.

The Kraken’s Top Five on Five Defenceman

Despite being known as a more shutdown defender, Larsson has shown he can generate offensive opportunities while five-on-five this season. He ranks at or near the top of most five-on-five categories and has been one of the few bright spots for the Kraken game after game. Here are some of his statistics as compared to the other defenseman on the team.

CategoryNumberRank on Team
Primary AssistsTwoFirst
PointsThreeTied First
Shots Blocked15First

As for his defensive work while on the ice, Larsson has continued to step up and be that shutdown force for the Kraken. He is the only defender on Seattle with a 50% or higher goals for percentage and carries a PDO of 1.016, which leads all defensemen on the team. More importantly, he is having this success while shutting down the NHLs elite. While on the ice, players like Elias Petterson, William Karlsson, Krill Kaprizov, and Nico Hischier have all been kept off the scoresheet. He is earning his contract and has been one of, if not the best, Kraken players while five-on-five.

A Force on Seattle’s Penalty Kill

When it comes to the penalty kill, Larsson has shined in his 21:58 of action. The only two units that have been able to score while he is on the ice have been the Oilers and the Canucks. He is usually paired with Jérémy Lauzon but has also found success with Jamie Oleksiak. He is the leading penalty killer on the team and continues to step up when the team needs him most.

The best thing about Larsson on the penalty kill is he leads by example. He has drawn a penalty through his hard work and leads the team in blocked shots with six. As for the rest of the team, no one has more than one blocked shot. He has always put his body on the line throughout his career, but this season he could set some personal records. He is on pace for around 50 blocked shots on the penalty kill, which would break his record of 36 from his time in New Jersey during the 2015-16 season. The Kraken can not afford for him to get hurt; otherwise, it will be challenging to replace his presence on the penalty kill.

Related: Projecting the Seattle Kraken Opening Night Defensive Pairs

Who Should Be His Defensive Partner Going Forward?

Through the first 10 games, Larsson has played the most with Lauzon and Oleksiak. Although both have been solid partners for him, there is one other player that the Kraken should: Vince Dunn.

Vince Dunn, Seattle Kraken
Vince Dunn, Seattle Kraken (Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images)

The two have only played 12 minutes together this season but have already shown some chemistry. They have a 69.7% Corsi at even strength and have been on the ice for three goals for compared to zero against. The team has also outshot opponents by seven when the two are on the ice and have only given up three high danger chances compared to five produced. The other reason that coach Dave Hakstol should give this tandem a try is that it allows Dunn to play his natural side. Last season, although he played more minutes on the left side, the results were better when he was stationed on the right.

Adam Larsson, Seattle Kraken
Adam Larsson, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Partnering a puck-moving defenceman like Dunn with a more stay-at-home defenceman like Larsson could be the best option for the Kraken movie forward. This could allow Dunn to jump up more in the rush knowing he has Larsson stationed at the blue line in case of a turnover. The pairing has worked so far, so why not try it out more often or even make it a permanent fixture in the lineup.

Larsson is a Leader on the Ice

It is evident by how Larsson plays why he was given an “A” at the beginning of the season. He is rarely out of position, stands up for teammates, and puts his body on the line regardless of the score. It is early, but his four-year- $16 million contract is already looking like a steal for the Kraken.

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