Coyotes Sign Ekman-Larsson to 6-Year Deal

Michael Jenkins@mikejenkins_99Contributor IIIMarch 15, 2013

The Phoenix Coyotes announced Friday that Oliver Ekman-Larsson was signed to a six-year deal.
The Phoenix Coyotes announced Friday that Oliver Ekman-Larsson was signed to a six-year deal.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Coyotes announced Friday that they have signed defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to a six-year deal worth $33 million (per ESPN.com).

The 21-year-old Swede is quickly becoming one of the league's best all-around blueliners. His signing was a brilliant move by the team, as it seeks to solidify the defense for years to come.

He has proven himself to be a durable and consistent defenseman early in his career, playing in all 82 games last season and all 27 this season. He will be one of the cornerstones of the franchise for years to come.

Ekman-Larsson ranks sixth overall in NHL defenseman scoring. He also leads all Coyotes defensemen in scoring and assists this season (3 G, 14 A, 17 PTS) through 27 games. The 6'2", 190-pound defenseman also leads the team in plus/minus rating (plus-eight), ice time per game (25:07) and shifts per game (23.9).

Last season, Ekman-Larsson scored 13 goals and collected 19 assists for 32 points. He also ranked second on the team in blocked shots (92) and third in hits (140). His defensive play is vastly underrated, as many see his smooth skating and great passing ability as his greatest assets.

He is fast, physical, offensively gifted and positionally sound.

In three NHL seasons, Ekman-Larsson has recorded 17 goals and 43 assists for 60 points in 157 NHL games.

Ekman-Larsson was originally drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2009 NHL entry draft.