Skip to content

‘Yotes GM happy Ekman-Larsson chose AHL over Europe: “He’s been excellent”

Nov 22, 2012, 11:00 AM EST

Comments Off
Detroit Red Wings v Phoenix Coyotes - Game Four Getty Images

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.

David Rundblad, the 17th overall pick at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (acquired in the Kyle Turris trade.)

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.”

Latest Posts
  1. Video: Red-hot power play key to Kings’ recent success

    Dec 28, 2014, 1:59 AM EST

    Darryl Sutter AP

    Darryl Sutter must like what he sees with the advantage.

  2. Lucic: Players have to step up for struggling Bruins

    Dec 27, 2014, 11:47 PM EST

    Milan Lucic Michel Cormier AP

    Some controversy in this game, too.

  3. WATCH LIVE: Sharks at Kings (10 p.m. ET)

    Dec 27, 2014, 9:46 PM EST

    San Jose Sharks v Los Angeles Kings Getty Images

    These teams, as we all know, don’t care for each other.

  4. WATCH LIVE: Capitals at Penguins (7:30 p.m. ET)

    Dec 27, 2014, 7:00 PM EST

    Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Starting to tighten up in the Eastern Conference standings.

  5. Wild place Backstrom (illness) on IR

    Dec 27, 2014, 6:26 PM EST

    Minnesota Wild v Phoenix Coyotes Getty Images

    Minnesota has recalled John Curry.

  6. Mason targets Monday as his return date

    Dec 27, 2014, 4:15 PM EST

    Steve Mason AP

    He’s been dealing with a back injury.

Featured video

Holiday wish lists for NHL teams
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Bishop (2536)
  2. C. Perry (2279)
  3. S. Weiss (1910)
  4. B. Elliott (1868)
  5. S. Crosby (1623)
  1. N. Kronwall (1558)
  2. J. Howard (1556)
  3. S. Varlamov (1542)
  4. J. Schwartz (1499)
  5. J. Halak (1416)