According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the Anaheim Ducks have finished some paperwork, signing Jacob Larsson to a new two-year contract. The deal will carry an average annual value of $1.2MM and keep the pending restricted free agent under contract through the 2021-22 season.
Larsson, 23, was a first-round pick of the Ducks back in 2015, and though he made his debut in the 2016-17 season, he still hasn’t established himself as the rock-solid NHL defender that many expected. The 6’2″ defenseman has played games for the Ducks’ minor league affiliate in each of the last five seasons but did suit up in 60 games for the NHL club this year.
Unfortunately, those 60 games didn’t produce exceptional results, as Larsson scored just 11 points and provided brutal possession statistics. Still young enough to improve there is still plenty of time for Larsson to live up to his first-round billing, but this relatively inexpensive contract reflects his inconsistent performance to this point.
For the Ducks, who have nearly $80MM in salaries committed to next season even as they enter a “rebuild,” contracts like this are necessary. Larsson will be given every opportunity to take a larger role, especially if the team decides to try to move on from one of their more expensive veteran blueliners.
When the contract expires, Larsson will still be a restricted free agent.