Born July 17, 1991 (age 20) in Karlskrona, Sweden
Defenseman for the Phoenix Coyotes
Let’s look at another young player! Ekman-Larsson comes from a hockey background; his grandpa Kenneth Ekman, who was also a defenseman, represented Sweden at the Olympics in 1972. He began playing for the Swedish third-level Tingsryds AIF team in 2007 after spending some time in its junior level system and moved up to second-level team Leksands IF in 2008. While still with Leksands, Phoenix selected him sixth overall in the 2009 draft, and Leksands took care of him for another season. This after-draft season was among his best in juniors because he produced the second most points among all junior players in his league, even though he missed some games going to compete for the 2010 World Juniors. In May 2010, Phoenix announced they put Ekman-Larsson on an entry-level contract.
Ekman-Larsson’s first NHL point was earned in October 2010 when he assisted on a Kyle Turris goal. He took a while longer to get his first goal–but then he is a d-man–getting that in January 2011 against San Jose’s Antti Niemi. During that season, he also spent some time with the Coyotes’ then-AHL affiliate the San Antonio Rampage. Oh, did I mention he played in the 2010 World Juniors and the 2010 Worlds? In the World Juniors, he was the top-scoring blueliner with five points in six games. In the Worlds, he played in nine games and was deemed Sweden’s best player when they took on Scandinavian pal Norway. Sweden took home the bronze in both contests.
Last season for Phoenix, he played 48 games, scored 1 goal, got 10 assists and had 24 penalty minutes. (He had 15 games, 3 goals, 7 assists and 16 penalty minutes in San Antonio.) Even in this young season, he’s played 17 games, scored 4 goals, gotten 3 assists and had 6 penalty minutes. Not bad at all. And since he’s so young, if he sticks around in Phoenix, he may just help them get better and better!