A Star in the Desert: Oliver Ekman-Larsson Breaks Franchise Point Record

Arizona Coyotes’ Captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson is now the all-time leader in points by defenseman in Coyotes franchise history since their relocation to Phoenix.

In a game against the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday, December 30, Ekman-Larsson snapped a pass to Alex Galcheyuk on a Yotes powerplay for a wrist shot, earning an assist and his 312th career point to surpass the previous record holder, Keith Yandle who had 311 points in his time with the Coyotes.

OEL unfortunately didn’t get to celebrate the achievement that night. While the helper put the Yotes within one, they ultimately fell 5-1 to Vegas after a breakdown in the 3rd that the Swedish captain referred to as “embarrassing”.

The good news is that he does have the unique ability for a do-over of sorts, as there are still two defensemen from the franchise’s past life as the original iteration of the Winnipeg Jets ahead of him, with 321 (Dave Babych) and 335 (Fredrik Olausson) points respectively. It is likely that OEL will be able to surpass them this season and claim this record twice over, hopefully next time with a happier ending.

With 22 points (5 goals, 17 assists) in 39 games, Ekman-Larsson is on pace towards either matching or surpassing his career averages but since being named captain this off-season, there have been more expectations of him from within the franchise.

Earlier this month, head coach Rick Tocchet expressed this to the media. He talked to OEL about how he should start being more selfish with the puck and taking over games.

Ekman-Larsson told Craig Morgan of The Athletic that he’s never been a selfish player and he doesn’t think he ever will be but agreed “In some ways, I need to be more selfish like when we’re on the power play or when we have a chance to win the game. Instead of trying to make somebody else look good, maybe I have to try to make myself look good.”

And with 4 points in 5 games, it’s starting to look like that’s not all talk.

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As one fan put it, “Oliver [Ekman-Larsson] is [probably] the duct tape that was holding that organization together for several seasons,” so an uptick in point production from their best defenseman should theoretically do wonders for Arizona.

Shey Junqueira

Shey is getting her degree in mass communication, journalism, and marketing. She is a diehard Florida Panthers fan but follows a lot of other teams can be found wading through the swamps of Central Florida in an old Atlanta Thrashers jersey, screaming about the benefits of non-traditional hockey markets. She's a queer Latina, a Southerner, and English is her 3rd language. You can find more of her takes at swamphockey.co.vu or as @swampshey on Twitter.

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