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Friday, April 17, 2009

2009 NHL Entry Draft - Up Close: Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Born July 17 1991 -- Karlskrona, SWE
Height 6.02 -- Weight 176 -- Shoots L

39 Games Played
32 PIM

According to McKeen's: "He brings a nice combo of offense and defense to the table. He's a smooth skater who makes good, quick decisions in the defensive zone and makes a good first pass. He has the skill to rush the puck and run a PP, but lacks experience and confidence in those area's right now. Always makes the right decision on both sides of the puck."

Some scouts, and some zealous Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs fans, have compared Ekman-Larsson to Nicklas Lidström - very high praise. He's risen quickly from obscurity, perhaps thanks to all the attention the Swedish hockey programme has been getting as of late with Victor Hedman and Magnus Svensson-Paajarvi in the top 5 rankings-wise.

Ekman-Larsson only weights 176 lbs, which is what I weigh, and I don't even go to the gym that often. If Ekman-Larsson is going to play his offensive style unintimidated in the NHL he will need to bulk up - and by a lot. Whatever the case may be, it would seem Ekman-Larsson's potential is a puck-moving defense who at worst could be a solid Grebeshkov-type player at the best could be a Norris-type defender. Of course, we'd like to reserve judgement lest we end up with Alexandre Daigle or Jason Bonsignore. Considering Robert Nilsson and Patrick Thoresen have been compared to Peter Forsberg, I think setting the bar at "potential NHL puck-moving D-man 1-4 pairing" is not too lofty an expectation for Ekman-Larsson at this point.

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