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Will prized Devils rookie Larsson participate in the playoffs?

Apr 3, 2012, 11:37 AM EST

Adam Larsson Getty Images

The lead graph from Rich Chere’s piece in the New Jersey Star-Ledger says it all.

If the Devils opened the Stanley Cup playoffs tomorrow, Peter Harrold would be in the lineup and rookie Adam Larsson would be watching.

On the surface, this seems like a strange decision. Larsson — 6-foot-3, 220-pounds — played 64 games this season (2G-16A-18PTS) and was selected to represent the Devils at the 2012 NHL All-Star Rookie SuperSkills Competition.

Harrold — 5-foot-11, 195-pounds — has played eight after a late-season recall from AHL Albany.

While this decision might seem “unusual” (Chere’s word, not ours) Devils head coach Peter DeBoer thinks it’s a perfectly normal choice to make. Larsson has struggled returning from injury and Harrold has been part of a lineup that’s won three straight.

“It’s the NHL and we’re here to win games,” DeBoer said. “We’re going to put the best possible lineup on the ice to win games. Sentimental feelings don’t go into it a lot. I understand it’s a tough spot for [Larsson], but you’re in the best league in the world and that comes with the job.”

Larsson has been a healthy scratch for the last three games, and it appears No. 4 will happen tonight against the Islanders. If it does, that leaves DeBoer and the Devils just two more regular season games — Thursday against Detroit, Saturday against Ottawa — to figure out if the fourth overall choice at the 2011 draft will play in the 2012 postseason.

For what it’s worth, DeBoer says he hasn’t ruled out playing Larsson in the playoffs.

“I’m very confident we’re going to get back a motivated young man and I think a guy who is going to be a valuable part for us,” he told the Star-Ledger. “It’s just a matter of when.”

It should be noted that, prior to getting parked, Larsson was third among all Devils defensemen in average ice time (20:44 per game), second only to Henrik Tallinder and the recently-acquired Marek Zidlicky.

  1. hockeyknowledge - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Can’t argue with DeBoers logic.

  2. biffnasty - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Just another indication of the mess that has become the nj devils.

  3. elvispocomo - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Hey NJ, Vancouver has a fantastic young goalie we don’t play often enough, and you have a fantastic young defenceman you don’t play often enough. Want to trade?

  4. checkforecheck - Apr 3, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    @biffnasty

    You’re a moron, and that’s clear from your post. If this is “just another” indication (it isnt), what others do you have?

    @elvispocomo

    Why would they trade their first round pick, who they’ve been clearly happy with in the majority of the season, for Vancouver’s backup goalie, especially if Broduer is going to be back next season (and he is)? He came back too early from an injury, is a 19 year old kid who is still trying to get used to a full season. That’s what you got from this article, that he isn’t playing enough? Read first, man. He’s played nearly every one that he hasn’t been hurt/out of country for, besides this week. Let’s be real.

    • danphipps01 - Apr 3, 2012 at 6:38 PM

      In case you haven’t noticed, Brodeur’s old and it’s showing. Hedberg’s been better than he has this year and it’s not likely Brodeur’s going to improve as he continues getting older. Problem is, Hedberg’s just as old – so what kind of sense would it make to continue relying on two men who are far from the top of their game and likely to retire at almost the same time? New Jersey needs a future goalie regardless, and frankly, if they’re wise, they won’t re-up with Brodeur next year. He’s not going to win them a Cup at this point. Past glory isn’t enough. Schneider’s got all kinds of upside and Vancouver could stand to upgrade defense. It’s actually not a bad idea for either side.

      • checkforecheck - Apr 3, 2012 at 6:52 PM

        Absolute nonsense. Old yes, showing no. Any GM would give their hand to get him. With a meandering D, they both kept them in games at many times during the season. Schneider is great, sure, but you don’t give up a young kid like this, in their biggest need, after one season. Especially with three good goalies in the system already. Its short sighted and knee jerk, there will be other options for goalie. NJ needs some young D-men badly, and that’s what they have in him. Guy is still growing, give him time.

        Of course, we wouldn’t even be talking about this if Peter Harrold wasn’t playing so well.

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