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.”
Apr 24, 2014, 1:59 AM EDT
The Blackhawks gave the Blues a taste of their own medicine.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:52 AM EDT
Another memorable moment for the American star.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:25 AM EDT
The NFL defensive back strategy.
Apr 23, 2014, 11:29 PM EDT
Nice gesture … bad sign?
Apr 23, 2014, 11:04 PM EDT
Nick Foligno called his goal ahead of time.
Apr 23, 2014, 10:50 PM EDT
Just a nightmarish evening for Anaheim.
Apr 23, 2014, 10:39 PM EDT
Is history repeating itself?
Apr 23, 2014, 10:12 PM EDT
Pittsburgh once again can’t hold a team to less than three goals.
Apr 23, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
Many wonder why he played the puck.
Apr 23, 2014, 9:36 PM EDT
He was hurt on Saturday.
Apr 23, 2014, 9:27 PM EDT
We ask, you answer.
Apr 23, 2014, 9:11 PM EDT
He was punished for a knee-on-knee hit to Colorado’s Tyson Barrie.
Apr 23, 2014, 8:37 PM EDT
Chicago is trying to even the series.
Apr 23, 2014, 8:03 PM EDT
But Pittsburgh’s lead is far from secure.
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM EDT
He was second in the regular season scoring race.
Apr 23, 2014, 7:33 PM EDT
San Jose will go for the sweep on Thursday.
Apr 23, 2014, 7:03 PM EDT
Nick Schultz took his place.
Apr 23, 2014, 6:46 PM EDT
The game will start at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Apr 23, 2014, 6:17 PM EDT
Neither team has done a good job of playing with the lead.
Apr 23, 2014, 5:39 PM EDT
He made his series debut in the late stages of Game 3.
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