Should somebody trade for Oliver Ekman-Larsson?
In the early-to-mid 2000s, Oliver Ekman-Larsson was the classic hipster pick as one of the league's elite defencemen. The combination of his top-end puck-moving skill set and the relative obscurity of the Arizona Coyotes created a kind of mystique around his game and made hockey fans feel very very smart for considering him “underrated.”
In this sense, he was part of a long and ongoing tradition of fans congratulating themselves for knowing the names of defencemen in Southern markets (Jaccob Slavin and Miro Heiskanen are his spiritual successors in this sense). There was legitimate merit to this, though. Ekman-Larsson never finished above seventh place in Norris voting, and never better than eighth in post-season all-star voting, oftentimes due to mediocre-to-bad plus/minus ratings.
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