by David Pavlak on 09/30/11 at 04:15 PM ET
After the Devils lost to the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center, head coach Peter DeBoer talked positvely about how often and how many minutes he plans on using Adam Larsson on a game by game basis, which all but locks up the notion that Larsson will be on the New Jersey Devils roster at the beginning of the regular season.
Larsson, who has shown he has the capacity to handle the NHL workload throughout the preseason, will be a vital defensive member on the blue line in order to try to help the Devils back to their regular winning ways.
“It’s not optimal (to play so many minutes) but the kid has handled it so far with no problem,” DeBoer told Rich Chere of The Star Ledger. “I think we’ve been loading him up with a regular shift, penalty kill and power play to see where his strengths lie and where we think we’ll see him during the regular season.
“I’m not saying he’s not going to play 25 minutes a night some nights of the regular season. That’s a real possibility, but I don’t think it will be an every night thing. We’re throwing everything at him to see where his strengths lie.”
Larsson noted that he plays his best when he sees more of the ice. In Sweden, he did not see as much ice time as the Devils have given to him.
“I think I play my best game when I get more minutes. It makes me confident out there.”
DeBoer is happy with the progress and ability he has seen with Larsson throughout the preseason.
“He’s handled himself well everywhere,” the coach said. “Where we’re at I think he’s done a real good job on the power play. I think the guys are comfortable. I think it’s a matter of them getting a lot more reps together and some puck luck around the net for it to go.”
DeBoer did say that if he needed to limit any of Larsson’s time on the ice, it would come out of the penalty kill.
Having Larsson on the opening night roster was all but a necessity for the Devils who failed to make the playoffs last season. If Larsson developes like he is expected, then the Devils should end up in much better shape at the end of the year. The Devils should be able to sneak into the seventh or eighth seed in the eastern conference if the whole team stays healthy and the offensive and defensive play as a cohesive unit. Time will only tell how the Devils season turns out though.
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