Nov 22, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT
After his breakout 2011-12 campaign, Oliver Ekman-Larsson probably could’ve landed a lockout gig in his native Sweden, or another strong European league.
Instead, he agreed to join AHL Portland at Phoenix’s request.
The Coyotes’ brass is sure happy he did.
Ekman-Larsson has been stellar in the American league, scoring nine points in nine games — even though he missed three weeks with a sliced finger.
“It’s been really good,” GM Don Maloney said of OEL’s time in Portland. “He’s been really good and the reason for that is just his attitude. He wants to be there. He wants to improve. He’s working hard.”
Ekman-Larsson is the cornerstone of Portland’s young, gifted blueline. Others include:
— Brandon Gormley, the 13th overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
— Michael Stone, a third-round pick from 2008 that debuted with the ‘Yotes last season (and played in two playoff games.)
— Chris Summers, a first-round pick from 2006 who’s currently serving as Portland’s alternate captain.
The Pirates blueline also has youngsters Maxim Goncharov and Mathieu Brodeur in the mix — all told, the oldest defenseman on the team is 25.
So, no shortage of talent on defense…but with that said, Maloney recognizes Ekman-Larsson is the guy most (if not all) are focused on.
“I’ve actually seen a lot of [AHL] games in the fall, and there are players down there that have been in the NHL that have it in cruise control a bit,” Maloney said. “In OEL’s case, that’s not him.
“He’s out there to help that team win and so other than the injury, he’s been excellent and it’s been good for his continual maturation.”
Mar 31, 2015, 8:13 PM EDT
Mar 31, 2015, 7:59 PM EDT
Joins Bossy, Gretzky, Dionne, Lafleur and Lemieux.
Mar 31, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT
3rd-round pick if it happens after the season, 2nd-rounder if it happens in-season.
Mar 31, 2015, 6:59 PM EDT
University of Minnesota blueliner inching closer to free agency.
Mar 31, 2015, 6:41 PM EDT
So the Hart will not, as some have suggested, become the Gretzky.
Mar 31, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT
Blackhawks duo “had a good thing going.”
Mar 31, 2015, 4:32 PM EDT
Not just a team that scores a lot of goals.
Mar 31, 2015, 3:38 PM EDT
Could really use a win tonight versus the Rangers.
Mar 31, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT
“I can speak from experience that home ice matters.”
Mar 31, 2015, 2:13 PM EDT
News and notes from around the crease…
Mar 31, 2015, 1:59 PM EDT
Florida’s season is essentially on the line.
Mar 31, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT
Sportsnet’s Stephen Brunt, not pulling any punches.
Mar 31, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT
He was Florida’s first-round pick (23rd overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Mar 31, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT
Mar 31, 2015, 12:06 PM EDT
This after his team, Rogle, terminated his contract on Monday.
Mar 31, 2015, 12:01 PM EDT
Gave up four goals on 11 shots Sunday versus the Islanders.
Mar 31, 2015, 11:56 AM EDT
Just 2-for-33 over the last 15 games.
Mar 31, 2015, 11:39 AM EDT
Just one win in their last six.
Mar 31, 2015, 11:24 AM EDT
6-foot-5, 225-pounder led Charlottetown in penalty minutes this year, with 124.
Mar 31, 2015, 10:38 AM EDT
He finished tied for third in the country in assists last season.
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