The NHL announced that Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been named to the 2015 NHL All-Star Game in Columbus. It will be Ekman-Larsson's first appearance in the game, and his second appearance at All-Star Weekend (he was named to the rookie team at the 2011 All-Star Game).
Ekman-Larsson is currently tied for second in the NHL with 11 goals among defensemen, and is first in the NHL in power play goals among defensemen with eight. He posts a 50.6% Corsi For at even-strength, and a scoring rate of 1.1 points per 60 minutes of ice time.
Though OEL has struggled some in his own zone this season, the selection reflects Ekman-Larsson's continued emergence is one of the premier two-way defensemen in the National Hockey League. At just 23 years old, Ekman-Larsson still has several years to refine and improve his game.
Absent from the All-Star roster for Arizona are team leaders like Keith Yandle and Antoine Vermette. Due to Super Bowl XLIX, the Coyotes will play eight consecutive road games in January and February. The All-Star break is scheduled for January 22nd-24th, right in the middle of the road trip. So the team will have some time away from the game during a tough stretch of their schedule.
So what do you think of the All Star selections?