It was the first full season in North America for Larsen, a fifth round pick (149th overall) in 2008, and he played well. In 54 games he registered 22 points (4 goals, 18 assists) and a plus-3 rating while playing on Texas’ top defensive pairing. He also had 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in 6 playoff games.
“I think he played pretty darn well down there and speaking with the coaches down there they are impressed with the way he defends,” said Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. “You can see in his game that he has some elements that are pretty impressive.”
The 21-year-old Larsen, who is from Denmark, is a slick skating defenseman with smarts, vision, puck moving ability and good offensive skills.
He was usually paired with Brad Lukowich and said he picked up a lot from the veteran defenseman and two-time Stanley Cup winner.
“He’s a really good guy and explains how to play the game defensively, the small details you have to pay attention to that make a big difference in the game,” Larsen said.
Larsen also spent some time in the NHL this season, playing six games with Dallas and picking up two assists. He also played two NHL games at the end of the 2009-10 season after getting called up from Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League. Each trip to the NHL brings more experience and more comfort.
“Sometimes it’s difficult when everything is new, but the more times you get called up the more time you get to know all the guys and the team better and better,” Larsen said during his last call up to the NHL, which was in January. “You feel more comfortable and that’s pretty normal.”
Larsen was slowed by a hip injury this past season and played through it during the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs. He had hip surgery after the season. Nieuwendyk expects a quick recovery for Larsen and expects the young defenseman to compete for a roster spot when Dallas training camp opens in Prince Edward Island in September.
“He’s knocking on the door for sure,” said Nieuwendyk. “He’ll get a good look in camp.”
Larsen was ranked fourth among Dallas prospects by The Hockey News Future Watch 2011.
Background on Dallas Stars prospect Philip Larsen.