The Detroit Red Wings used their sixth-round draft choice in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the 167th pick to be exact, on Swedish netminder Filip Larsson. While a sixth-round pick may not be anything to write home about, Larsson certainly was when he finally signed with the organization.
When Larsson got to North America and began playing in the USHL, he posted incredible numbers. He would find success at the University of Denver as well before signing with the Red Wings for the 2019-20 season.
Denver is in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), which is a powerhouse conference. They play against the likes of the University of North Dakota, the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and St. Cloud State University, to name a few.
Needless to say, Larsson finding success in this conference was impressive; it is high-level college hockey, and Larsson looked like he could be something special. However, things have since changed, and it appears Larsson might be a dead end after the hopes were a little high when he was signed.
Detroit Red Wings goaltending prospect Filip Larsson appears to be a dead end.
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In the 2018-19 season, while Larsson was still at Denver, he posted a 13-6-3 record with a .932 save-percentage (SV%) and a 1.95 goals-against average (GAA) over his 22 games. He was incredibly good, but that success ran out pretty quickly.
In 2019-20, Larsson struggled with the Grand Rapids Griffins, playing in just seven games where he was 2-5-0 with a .843 SV% and a 4.01 GAA that led to his demotion. He would be sent down to the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL, where things did not get much better.
With the Walleye in 2019-20, Larsson played in 10 games where he was 4-6-0. He did get his SV% above the .900, hovering at .910 for the Walleye.
He also cut his GAA down to 2.72, but it is not entirely as good as he was in prior years.
But, this year, in 2020-21, Larsson is back in Europe playing after being loaned to Almtuna IS of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). Larsson played six games for them where he was 1-4-0 with a 3.54 GAA and a .883 SV% over in Sweden. He was then shipped over to Denmark, where he logged ten games.
In his 10 games for the Frederikshavn White Hawks, Larsson has a .889 SV% which is all that EliteProspects has available. The bottom line is, it seems like the well might have run dry for Larsson.
It sucks since he had some hype around him after his time at Denver, even for a sixth-round draft pick. But, Larsson has just not been able to figure things out, even after being sent back overseas to Europe to try and iron things out.
The future of Red Wings goaltending is sort of unknown. Jonathan Bernier and Thomas Greiss are not the long-term solutions. That is pretty evident; the future likely resides in one of the other goalies under the organization’s control in terms of draft rights.
Carter Gylander and Keith Petruzzelli could possibly be considered solutions, but they need to be signed and make the jump from the NCAA into the Red Wings organization, the same jump that Larsson failed to make.
Keeping all of this in mind, with the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery on its way, could Jesper Wallstedt be someone to consider for Steve Yzerman?