Arizona Coyotes: The Return of Oliver Ekman-Awesome


After a week off, Arizona Coyotes star Oliver Ekman-Larsson returned to the ice with a three point night.

The Arizona Coyotes have a boatload of special young players.

None, save perhaps Clayton Keller, have shown they can reach the level of Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

The 25-year-old defender is the pillar that the future Coyotes will be built around.

Like his young team, however, OEL has had some growing pains this season.

Before last night’s contest, Ekman-Larsson was several points behind his 2015-16 scoring pace and defensively he, like the team itself, had been a bit of an adventure.

Fans speculated it may be injury related. Frustration could also be a factor.

Not many on the roster want to win more than #23, but here the franchise is embroiled in a fifth straight season with no playoffs.

Whatever the reason, the Yotes’ best player hasn’t been himself.

On Friday night at Gila River Arena, Oliver Ekman-Awesome reappeared.

He tallied three assists in the first period and looked every bit the Swedish virtuoso he’s expected to be.

For his effort, he stole the player of the game belt from an also deserving Brendan Perlini.

Louis Domingue awarded OEL the honor despite Perlini’s two-goal effort, and we can’t say we’re surprised.

When you’re talking about the unquestioned best player on the team having a strong night that the Arizona Coyotes desperately need him to have, one can see rewarding the veteran instead of the rookie. With the way he’s playing, Brendan Perlini will have plenty of chances to win it again.

Seeing Oliver Ekman-Larsson making plays that lead to Coyotes goals is a recipe for success despite the troubles facing the team on-ice this season.

The beauty of the 2015-16 season lay in the fact that even though the team wasn’t very good, they had key players like Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson producing highlight reel plays on a near nightly basis to keep fans entertained and hope alive.

OEL is locked up for two more seasons at a very reasonable price for John Chayka.

At some point the Arizona Coyotes will have to turn a corner to show the defender they mean business when it comes to competing for the playoffs and the Stanley Cup.

Next: Is Duclair Finally Breaking Out Of His Slump?

I’m confident they’ll get to that point.

In the meantime, let’s enjoy the return of Oliver Ekman-Awesome.