Originally written on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 6/28/14

New Jersey Devils rookie Adam Larsson is currently the youngest defenseman in the NHL. When you ask his peers, he looks anything but a rookie.

To say he’s impressed his teammates in the early going would be an understatement. Larsson has been the quarterback of the team’s power play and leads the team in ice time for defensemen. All of that coming from a player that is 18 years old and two weeks into his NHL career.

“He’s come in and shown everybody that he can play in this league,” forward David Clarkson said.

One of the biggest adjustments Larsson has had to make is the transition from the European ice surface to North America. There’s also a difference in physicality between the Swedish Elite League and NHL. Larsson said he talked to a lot fellow Swedes in the off-season about making those adjustments. He also mentioned that it has been a tough transition, but don’t tell Patrik Elias that.

“It’s pretty amazing at 18 years old that he’s stepped in this well with a different style of hockey,” Elias said. “He looks comfortable out there; he doesn’t shy away from physical play; he’s smart with the puck and makes great plays. He has a great future ahead of him.”

Larsson’s maturity has given the coaching staff confidence to put the rookie on the ice a lot more than other first-year defensemen.

“It speaks of our confidence in him and what he’s been able to do. He’s been fantastic so far,” said head coach Peter DeBoer, who is in his first year as the bench boss in New Jersey. “It’s going to get tougher (for him) as the league gets better and better, but he’s been capable of handling everything we’ve thrown at him.”

Through Saturday’s game against Nashville, Larsson averaged 24:14 of ice time. The fourth-overall draft selection from June, who is used to the heavy workload from his time in Sweden, said that the excess of ice time has given him confidence, too, early on in his rookie campaign.

“I like it,” he said. “I think I play my best game when I get that much ice time.”

Larsson has had a lot of work on the power play in the early going, trailing only Ilya Kovalchuk when it comes to ice time on the man advantage.

“On the power play when he holds the puck on the blue line, he looks like a guy who has played 10 years in the league,” Clarkson said. “You don’t see many kids come in at that age and quarterback the power play. On a team like this, we’ve got Kovalchuk on one side, Elias and Parise down low. For him it’s probably like ‘Wow, I’m here with these guys?’ He still finds ways to make good plays and be smooth out there.”

Larsson’s teammates rave about his maturity off the ice, as well.

“He’s a great kid,” Clarkson said. “When you have a rookie come in and he’s as nice as he is, as funny and jokes around – for as old as he is, he’s very mature and he’s ready for this league.”

Henrik Tallinder added, “He never stresses out about anything. He’s really calm all the time off the ice. Even if something goes wrong with travelling, he’s just calm. Nothing can get him off the path he’s on.”

Tallinder was a key member of the Buffalo Sabres’ defense corps when Tyler Myers was a rookie in the 2009-10 season. As you know, Myers won the Calder Trophy that season. Tallinder sees similarity between the two, which is pretty high praise.

“I had the fortune to play with Tyler Myers in Buffalo, and he had the same kind of poise at that age,” Tallinder said of Larsson. “Usually it takes a bunch of years to get that poise and patience. He has that already – it’s kind of unfair!”

Photo credit: Getty Images
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Saints love TE Josh Hill following Jimmy Graham trade

Darren Sproles' role is growing for the Eagles

Barkley, Reggie Miller condemn Indiana religious freedom bill

Report: Rick Barnes not expected back at Texas

Metta World Peace interested in coaching at St John's

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Knicks want Marc Gasol, do they know what they’re asking for?

New York Rangers are the first team to clinch a playoff spot

Victorino: I plan on playing every day for Red Sox in 2015

The Rams are still planning on drafting a quarterback

Howard willing to make 'ultimate sacrifice' for Rockets

Pacquiao bought P. Diddy’s house for $12.5M, fight tickets

Winnipeg Jets prospect had a rough night on the ice

Russell Wilson to suit up for Texas Rangers Saturday

Did Dean Smith’s gifts to former players violate NCAA rules?

WWE unveils Ultimate Warrior statue

WATCH: Tom Brady jumps off tall cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Dominique Wilkins in HORSE

Angels remove Josh Hamilton banner from front of stadium

Elite Eight preview: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

Support for relocation growing among NFL powers

Mother says special needs son forced to remove varsity letter

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Minnesota Timberwolves: Should they tank?

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Rick Barnes not returning to Texas?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

James Harden and the collective consciousness

Hottest coaching seats in NBA

Under-the-radar NL MVP candidates

Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight

The last Expo standing

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.