Phoenix Coyotes Sign Oliver Ekman-Larsson to 6-Year Contract Extension

USA TODAY Sports

In news that will be met with much joy around the Pack, the Phoenix Coyotes have locked up stud 20-year old Swedish defenseman Oliver Ekman-Awesome...er Larsson...to a contract extension through the 2018-19 season.

Per team policy, the Phoenix Coyotes did not announce the terms of the deal, but according to the almost always correct and generally awesome folks at CapGeek, the deal will have a cap hit of $5.5 million per season.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson is the stud of the Coyotes defense and has become a #1 d-man in just his third year in the league. To say his upside is tremendous is to down-play what he has already accomplished. If he continues to improve his play at even a fraction of the rate that he has thus far, his name will be coming up in Norris Trophy discussions for years to come.

Here is the team's official press release:

COYOTES SIGN EKMAN-LARSSON TO SIX-YEAR CONTRACT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Friday, March 15, 2013

GLENDALE, ARIZONA Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have signed defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to a six-year contract. As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Oliver is an exceptional young player who will continue to improve as he matures,” Maloney said. “He is an important part of our future and we are pleased to have agreed on a long term contract.”

This season, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Ekman-Larsson leads all Coyotes defensemen in scoring and assists with 3-14-17 in 27 games. He also ranks tied for sixth among all NHL defensemen in points and leads the Coyotes in time on ice per game (25:07) and shifts per game (29.3). Ekman-Larsson also leads the team with a plus-8 rating and is one of just two NHL defensemen to score a shootout goal this season.

Last season, the 21-year-old native of Karlskrona, Sweden set career highs in goals (13), assists (19), points (32) and games played (82). He was one of six Coyotes players to play in all 82 games and ranked first on the team in shifts/game (26.2) and second in TOI/G (22:06). He also ranked second on the team in blocked shots (92) and third in hits (140).

In three NHL seasons, Ekman-Larsson has recorded 17-43-60 and 70 penalty minutes in 157 NHL games.

Obviously this signing opens up the ability to make a move with some of the defensive prospects that the team has stockpiled including Brandon Gormley, Maxim Goncharov, Chris Summers, and possibly even the much-maligned (by malcontents on Twitter), Keith Yandle.

I'm just excited that we will be able to have six more years of this:

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