23-Year-Old Defenseman – Arizona Coyotes
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Contract Information:
Signed a six-year extension with the Coyotes in March of 2013.
Ekman-Larsson scored his 15th goal Tuesday in a loss to Columbus. He had two shots, a blocked shot and three hits in more than 27 minutes of ice time.
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Oliver Ekman-Larsson: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Ekman-Larsson signed a six-year extension with the Coyotes during last season, so the team has its outstanding young blue liner locked up long-term. OEL chipped in 24 points (three goals) in 48 games in 2012-13 and the importance of his offensive contributions can't be overlooked on a team that has often struggled to light the lamp. He didn't come close to matching the goal-scoring pace he set in 2011-12 (13 goals in 82 games), but Ekman-Larsson is perhaps one of the safer defensive selections on the fantasy board. He also finished with a plus-5 rating and 73 hits, and it wouldn't be unreasonable to think he could come close to 40 points in a full season.
Ekman-Larsson, one of the game's top young blueliners, had a breakout season in 2011-12, notching 32 points, including 13 goals, 140 hits and 92 blocked shots in 82 games. OEL should be owned in all fantasy leagues as the 20-year-old is only going to improve after his first full season in the NHL. He could deliver 40 points this year.
The Coyotes lost aggressive defenseman Ed Jovanovski to Florida in free agency, but general manager Don Maloney expects his 2009 first-round pick to fill in and skate top-six minutes in 2011-12. Ekman-Larsson doesn't present the same offensive blue-line threat as teammate Keith Yandle, but posted a solid stat line in 48 games with the Coyotes last season: 11 points (1 G, 10 A), a plus-3 rating, and 24 PIMs to go along with 41 hits.
Based on Ekman-Larsson's performance last season with Leksand, where he posted three goals and 14 assists with a plus-44 rating, he might be the next young star on the Coyotes' blue line. With the departure of Zbynek Michalek, and an aging defense corps, Ekman-Larsson might make a splash for 2010-11. While it is too early to tell if his game that played in Sweden will translate to the NHL, the Coyotes have high hopes on their first round draft pick. He is a possibility to be inserted as a sixth defenseman, but he will have some competition for that job.
Ekman-Larsson would excite most fans in a traditional hockey market. The sixth overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Ekmann-Larsson isn't going to put up big offensive numbers, but his selection indicated how desperate Phoenix is at the blue line. The big Swedish defenseman put up an outstanding plus-44 for Leksands in the Swedish second division.