Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Ekman-Larsson plays the game like a veteran already, which will only improve as time goes on.
Although he is only 21 years-old, many feel that Oliver Ekman-Larsson plays the game like a veteran who has spent many years in the NHL. Much of this can be attributed to his upbringing through the Swedish youth leagues, but it takes innate ability and a knowledge of the game to play like he has at this point in his career.
All hockey players make mistakes, but over the past two seasons, you can see how much he has improved in decision making and positioning. For young players, learning from your mistakes is fundamental to your progress. He doesn't need to make multiple mistakes before he makes adjustments to his game. He is quiet by nature on the ice, but listens and absorbs information so that he can make changes to his game when necessary.
He makes the safe play when necessary and the risky one when called for. He jumps into the play when given the opportunity, but knowing how the game is being played helps dictate when he takes those chances. His passing and skating have improved over the past two seasons. He is becoming more comfortable on the ice as time continues and is beginning to be more vocal. His progress is astonishing and something that I feel will only continue as time goes on.
Big things are now expected of this franchise as they reached the Western Conference Finals last season. Ekman-Larsson is one component of a talented defensive group in Phoenix. Look for him to begin to assume more of a leadership role as this season begins. Plan on seeing him in a Coyotes jersey for years to come.
Watch and behold the next big thing for the Phoenix Coyotes. Oliver Ekman-Larsson