Amidst the relocation talks and ownership issues, there have been several bright stars within the Arizona Coyotes franchise. One Coyotes defenseman is young, but gives the fans a look to what the team’s future will look like.Apr 7, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) skates against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Oliver Ekman-Larsson was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 1st round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The Swedish defenseman was the 6th overall pick, that has played 340 games since 2010, with 55 goals and 99 assists. Lately Ekman-Larsson has been one of the best defenseman in the game.
Ekman-Larsson’s first season with the Coyotes was 2010-2011, where he played 48 games only scoring one goal with ten assists. Ever since that first season he has been the go to defenseman on both full strength lines and on the power play.
Last season he played in all 82 games and Ekman-Larsson lead the team in points (43), goals (23), and is fourth in assists (20). His 23 goals was a career high for Ekman-Larsson. He also was ranked 8th in the NHL for game winning goals, with 7.
The Coyote defenseman was the teams’ representation in the 2015 NHL All-Star game in Columbus. Ekman-Larsson tallied an assist in the game, but his team lost 17-12. He also participated in the skills competition while at All-Star Weekend.
Overall Ekman-Larsson had a phenomenal season, even though the Coyotes ended the season at the bottom of the league. He should be performing well, especially after signing a huge contract.
Ekman-Larsson signed a six-year contract worth $5.5 million a year, back in 2013. This makes him under contract with the Arizona Coyotes until the end of the 2018-2019 season.
If the Coyotes are to maintain continued success on the ice, Oliver Ekman-Larsson will be a huge piece in that. He will be 24 on July 17th, and with the Coyotes selecting 3rd in the 2015 NHL Draft that team will be young and quick. Ekman-Larsson will have some great players around him this coming fall. Including the draft pick, the Coyotes will have Max Domi, Tobias Rieder, Philip and Henrik Samuelsson, Anthony Dulcair, Connor Murphy, and the return of players like Mikkel Boedker, Martin Hanzal, and Shane Doan, this team may be very fun to watch.