We know how good Victor Hedman is. Ever since he was drafted second overall in 2009, he’s been a force for the Lightning. In the video below, I talk about how good Hedman is on the ice, and how much the Lightning need him when he’s off the ice.
I also tie in Oliver Ekman Larsson, who’s been a defenceman that doesn’t receive nearly enough praise for his contributions with the Arizona Coyotes as of late. After several seasons with good offensive production, and the additions of Stepan, Hjalmarsson, and Raanta, Ekman Larsson will no longer be one of the few bright spots on the team, but one of many. On a bad team, Ekman Larsson has boasted a positive relative shot attempt differential, despite his on-ice numbers being under 50% in 2016/17.
Comparing OEL and Hedman isn’t necessarily fair. Hedman has played on a good team that’s made it to the playoffs on a consistent basis, while the Coyotes have consistently missed the playoffs. A star defenceman on a contender will get more attention compared to a star defenceman on a non-contender.
An issue the Coyotes might face is not having a right shot defenceman to complement OEL. Hjalmarsson was a great add to potentially play the right side with OEL, but imagine if the Coyotes acquired Mike Green!
Hjalmarsson was Duncan Keith’s most frequent defence partner, playing over 824 minutes with him on the Blackhawks. There’s no question that Hjalmarsson will be able to contribute his shot suppression abilities playing with Ekman Larsson in 2017/18. Even though he’s not the right shot defenceman the Coyotes would love, he’s a better Adam Larsson. Sorry Mike Green. You’re probably not going to the desert.
Is Oliver Ekman Larsson as good as Victor Hedman? Given how successful the Lightning have been, while the Coyotes are looking as though they’re building the structure of a successful team, Hedman obviously gets the nod. Ekman Larsson is such an important player in his on-ice contributions, and so is Victor Hedman. Based on his offensive output and his Norris candidacies, Hedman is definitely the better defenceman. One thing’s for sure; they’re both top defencemen for their respective teams.