If you want to talk about players that are going to be signing somewhere with the intent of trying to win the Stanley Cup, Oliver Ekman-Larsson is going to be at the top of that list. He’s a very wealthy man who has just been bought out by the Vancouver Canucks. This means that they are going to be paying him while he plays elsewhere for the next several years if he can find a job in the NHL.
Ekman-Larsson is going to turn 32 on July 17th so he’s not exactly a young spring chicken, but there is still something on offer from the defenseman. He’s got warts, but he’s still a player that could be helpful in the right situation. If the Rangers can get him on a low-value deal and offer him a chance to play in the best city in the world on a team that has genuine Stanley Cup hopes for cheap, they should.
Ekman-Larsson isn’t the defenseman that used to get Norris votes anymore. Father Time has been victorious in eating away at OEL’s skillset over time through various injuries. He’s regressed heavily from his days as the captain of the Arizona Coyotes. But those leadership skills haven’t gone anywhere and I think everyone can agree this roster could use more players that want to keep the group accountable for their performances.
So what does OEL offer? In 54 games last year on the woeful Vancouver Canucks, Ekman-Larsson recorded 2 goals and 20 assists for 22 points. For those playing along at home, that is a 33-point pace over 82 games. To add 30 points to the blueline isn’t a small thing. He could also captain the second powerplay unit which desperately needs it. There are things the big Swede offers to the Rangers.
While it is true that his defensive problems cannot be overstated, having OEL on league minimum or close to it as a sixth or seventh defenseman to add some scoring to the backend is not a bad idea. If it’s something like $800,000 on a one-year deal, there’s going to be enough from the player to reasonably expect this deal to work out well for everyone.