With the regular season over, it’s time for players around the league to be evaluated for their effectiveness and their value to a team. We’ll be doing the same thing throughout the month of May, and we’d love to hear your opinions on our grading.
We’ll travel through the team in numerical order this year and we’ll hit every individual that was on the roster as of Saturday April 27; the official end of the Stars season.
While it was a slow season in many respects for 23-year-old Dane Philip Larsen, it was also on par to be his best had the season gone full-term. It was his first season to devote all of his energies to the Dallas Stars, and Larsen was on his way to proving without a shadow of a doubt how valuable he is to the organization.
Four years ago, Larsen was playing for Frolunda HC Goteborg, a Swedish league he had become a part of when he was just 17-years-old. While he didn’t stand out in goal-scoring, Larsen was extremely skilled in putting the puck in front of those who were. He recorded and matched his career best in assists with in both 2007 and in 2009. Most notable of his time with Sweden, and currently with the Stars, was the amount of time he spent in the penalty box. In 2007, Larsen spent a career-high 50 minutes in the penalty box in just 37 games.
Since traveling to the states, and being acquired by Dallas, Larsen’s talent has been both honed and reigned in. In his first season with the Stars, he set foot on Dallas ice just twice, but recorded his first NHL assist. Last season, he scored three goals and notched in eight more assists. In just 32 games this season, Larsen scored twice and added another three assists to his repertoire. In stark contrast to his 50-penalty-minute year, he spent only 16 and 18 minutes in the penalty box between last season and this year, respectively.
On the negative side, it was Larsen’s first year to finish the season in the negative for the plus/minus, and he did so quite decisively with negative 10. Only Jamie Benn sat further down in the plus/minus ranking. The bulk of the negatives undeniably came from the struggles Dallas’ defense faced this year, and while that doesn’t mean the fault lies solely on Larsen’s shoulders, it also doesn’t exclude him from it.
Larsen wasn’t one of the team’s leading goal-scorers, but he was on par to shatter his career-high of five. He hadn’t racked up what many people likely expected of him in the assist category, and while it’s impossible to say how the rest of an 82-game season could have turned out, it’s hard to say it was a strong season for him; especially with it being his peak strength. For his struggles, I give Philip Larsen a C for the 2012-2013 season.
Goal Scoring: B
On-ice presence and performance: B