Gulls A-Z Profile: Jacob Larsson and Isac LundestromSep 1, 2019
When a player looks back at a season, chances are they reflect at the progress from years past. If that’s the case with Jacob Larsson and Isac Lundestrom, boasting 49 games in the NHL and touching North American ice for the first time was certainly big accomplishments. Larsson had only played in four NHL games since 2016-17 when he entered professional play in North America while Lundestrom solely played in Sweden.
Prior to the 2016-17 season, Larsson played in his home country of Sweden for Frolunda HC with aspirations to one day become a full-time NHL player. The defenseman developed his game on a smaller rink size through a full AHL season in 2017-18, posting 3-13=16 points in 50 games with the Gulls. Although he did not get any postseason experience, it was a crucial learning curve for the young blueliner as we recovered from a knee injury at the tail end of 2016-17.
“It’s important, especially for us European guys to come over with the rinks being a little bit bigger in Sweden and Europe,” said Larsson on starting the season and developing with the Gulls last season. “I think it’s a good thing to start down here in the AHL and get to learn the ice and everything. How people play here is different too, it is a different type of hockey. It is important and it has been great for me to be here with San Diego.”
Lundestrom, on the other hand, was challenged with several stops. The rookie had stints in the NHL, AHL, Swedish Elite League and even represented his home country in the World Junior Championship. While the 19-year-old was honing his craft on the smaller ice in Southern California, the success was prevalent in his return to Sweden and even more so at the WJC. Not to be overshadowed however, the Gallivare, Sweden native proved his play making abilities with 0-6=6 points in 12 games with the Gulls. With Team Sweden, he was named alternate captain and tied the team with three assists collecting 1-3=4 points in five games. The scoring prowess continued into the AHL postseason where Lundestrom posted 1-2=3 points in seven games.
This past season, Larsson had developed his game enough to be ready to contribute at the NHL level. In the 49 games with the Ducks, he recorded five assists (0-5=5) and was heavily relied upon as a depth defenseman. In his time with the Gulls, Larsson was a strong factor on the blueline and a key contributor on special teams. The Ljungby, Sweden native only skated in 22 regular season games with San Diego and collected another five assists as he helped lead the Gulls to a postseason berth. During the Calder Cup Playoffs, Larsson shined even brighter as the shutdown defenseman made his presence known at both ends of the ice, tallying 2-5=7 points with an impressive +7 rating in 16 games.
The ceiling is high for the two former Anaheim first round selections who checked several boxes on their progression last season. With training camp and preseason just around the corner, the duo will look to prove that they can take the next steps in their game as they vie for larger roles in the organization.
SanDiegoGulls.com highlights each player from A-Z heading into the 2019-20 season, breaking down the roster and what's to come from each individual.