Detroit Red Wings: Do not give up on goaltender Filip Larsson yet

(Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings selected goaltender Filip Larsson back in 2016, and he has gone through some struggles but could still pan out as a late bloomer.

Back when former Detroit Red Wings General Manager (GM) Ken Holland was running the show still, he selected goaltender Filip Larsson in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. A few years later, with Steve Yzerman at the organization’s helm, the future goaltender is unknown.

Beyond the current tandem of Jonathan Bernier and Thomas Greiss, the organization has a few different options as long as they can pan out. Larsson hopes to be one of them, but things need to change for that to come to fruition.

After a few years of struggles, Larsson is still looking to bounce back to the goaltender he was after coming to North America to play for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL and then the University of Denver from the NCAA’s coveted NCHC conference.

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The Red Wings would end up signing Larsson after just one season at Denver; he would struggle in limited appearances with the Grand Rapids Griffins before being sent down to the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL, where he was not much better.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Larsson to return to Sweden, where he is now on loan with Almtuna IS of the HockeyAllsvenskan league.

He has not exactly locked things down over there yet as one would hope, but he has only played in four games, so there is still time for him to change that narrative.

It is not to say that Larsson cannot bounce back, but he could still amount as a late-blooming goalie who finds his way to the Red Wings roster eventually.

The opportunity is still there, but it is not as bright as it was when he was drafted.

A 22 game stint with Denver that produced a 13-6-3 record, 1.95 goals-against average (GAA), and .932 save percentage (SV%) is what earned him his entry-level contract. The downturn in performance led to his demotion to Toledo, where he would be able to “excel” and play in meaningful games; however, this was not the case.

Larsson struggled to latch on at the AHL and ECHL levels. In Sweden, the goal for him is to lockdown the crease and get away from the struggling numbers that he has put up. So far, not so much; in four games with Almtuna IS, Larsson has posted a 1-2-0 record, with the win being a shutout, while posting a 3.30 GAA and .910 SV% so far.

The struggles are worrisome, but keep an open mind with Larsson; he is 22 years old and still has a chance to figure it out. His window is closing and closing fast if he continues to struggle, but if he can settle in and lock it down overseas and come back to the AHL and fix his woes, there is hope.

That being said, do not count Larsson out; he could still amount to someone the Red Wings try out as a future goaltender solution, but he will not be the only one. There is some competition; while most still need to move through the ranks and get into the Red Wings system, that will still take time.

Larsson’s bottom line is that he needs to get back on track and start being the dominant goaltender he showed he could be with Denver. If that happens and he can translate that into the AHL, he could become a late-blooming goaltender.

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The Detroit Red Wings may not have Larsson high on lists for their future goalie candidates but do not count him out yet.