Ekman-Larsson ranks sixth in the league in average ice time. Entering play Tuesday, Ekman-Larsson was logging 26:01 per night, just over two minutes more than his average from last season. Still, the dynamic defenseman remains without a point through two games, but owners need not worry as Ekman-Larsson is sure to break out in the near future.
Ekman-Larsson will serve as the Coyotes' team captain for the 2018-19 campaign, Sirius XM NHL Radio reports. Ekman-Larsson seems like an obvious choice as a longtime Coyote on a relatively young squad. He hasn't fared well in terms of rating each of the last two seasons, posting a minus-28 mark last year to follow minus-25 in 2016-17. However, the blueliner also racked up 42 points -- 14 goals and 28 assists -- which were only bettered by three forwards on the team last season, and he figures to be a key cog for the team again in 2018-19.
Ekman-Larsson has reportedly agreed to sign an eight-year, $64 million contract extension with Arizona, per Darren Dreger of TSN. The window for extending a player under contract doesn't open for Ekman-Larsson until the league year turns over; however, it is expected that the blueliner will officially put pen to paper July 1. There was some concern in the desert that the 26-year-old would turn down the offer, which would likely have led the club to consider trading him ahead of the 2018 NHL Draft. Considering the Yotes were nearly $23 million under the cap last year, they can certainly afford to give Ekman-Larsson a sizable pay raise -- especially with the cap expected to jump to $78-82 million.
Ekman-Larsson will represent Sweden at the 2018 IIHF World Championship, which runs May 4-20 in Denmark. While the 26-year-old posted a minus-28 rating on a team chock full of less experienced players, Ekman-Larsson did nothing to dent his reputation as a premier offensive weapon from the Coyotes blue line, as he notched 14 goals and 28 assists over a full season in 2017-18. He's also a mainstay on the man advantage, having reached double-digit point totals in that spot in each of the past five seasons, so consider targeting 2009's sixth overall draft pick in the early-to-middle rounds of fantasy drafts this fall.
Ekman-Larsson scored the game-winner and an insurance marker in a 5-2 win over Calgary on Monday. Ekman-Larsson got an opportunity after the Flames had to pull Mike Smith for the extra man, and he took advantage of it with an empty-netter to go with his game-winner. They all count the same in fantasy, though, and the suddenly hot Ekman-Larsson now has five goals in March. He's closing the year strong and should be in your lineup to take advantage of this late outburst.
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
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