Skip to content

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

Nov 22, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

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. No surprises: Niemi to start for San Jose in series opener

    Apr 17, 2014, 4:49 PM EDT

    Antti Niemi AP

    Head coach Todd McLellan took his time announcing this one, though.

  2. Yeo’s scouting report on Varlamov reveals: ‘This is a great goalie’

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT

    Semyon Varlamov, Matt Duchene, Nino Niederreiter AP

    “The quicker you get the puck off your stick, the more net there is to shoot.”

  3. Get your game notes: Wild at Avalanche

    Apr 17, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    Jonnas Brodin, Nathan MacKinnon AP

    Two teams meeting for the third time in the playoffs.

  4. FYI: Hartnell and Voracek have black beards now

    Apr 17, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT

    Hartnell

    Just in case you don’t recognize them tonight.

  5. Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT

    Brayden Schenn, Ryan McDonagh AP

    “You definitely want to be physical on him.”

  6. Oshie and Berglund out, Tarasenko in for Blues tonight vs. ‘Hawks

    Apr 17, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT

    OshieBerglund Getty Images

    Game 1 gets underway at Scottrade at 8 p.m. ET (on NBCSN).

  7. Get your game notes: Blackhawks at Blues

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:57 AM EDT

    BluesBlackhawks AP

    Classic rivalry will get underway tonight at Scottrade.

  8. Sharks playing the role of underdogs versus Kings

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

    Brad Stuart, Justin Williams AP

    Even though they’re not really underdogs.

  9. Get your game notes: Flyers at Rangers

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT

    Jakub Voracek, Henrik Lundqvist AP

    Both teams bounced back from bad starts to make the playoffs.

  10. St. Louis focused on team rather than own struggles

    Apr 17, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT

    Martin St. Louis Getty Images

    He had eight points in 19 games with New York.

  11. PHT Morning Skate: Four Game 1s start it up tonight

    Apr 17, 2014, 8:25 AM EDT

    Patrick Marleau, Alec Martinez AP

    New York, St. Louis, Denver, and San Jose is where it’s at tonight.

  12. Video: Getzlaf bloodied after taking puck to face

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:19 AM EDT

    Getzlaf2

    A Tyler Seguin bullet, no less.

Featured video

Detroit must exploit Boston's young D
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (4657)
  2. T. Oshie (3829)
  3. M. Duchene (3529)
  4. B. Bishop (3090)
  5. H. Zetterberg (2973)
  1. D. Backes (2964)
  2. M. Brodeur (2935)
  3. V. Tarasenko (2875)
  4. P. Bergeron (2870)
  5. S. Crosby (2299)