Oliver Ekman-Larsson is off to a big start for the Coyotes this year. With three goals in the team’s first four games, Ekman-Larsson is showing that persevering is one of his better traits. Kyle Turris should be taking notes.
Last season, Ekman-Larsson spent most of the year as a healthy scratch playing in 48 games with the Coyotes and piling up just 11 points and just one goal. While other players worked their way into coach Dave Tippett’s lineup, Ekman-Larsson practiced and worked out but couldn’t crack the lineup. That kind of development can make a young player frustrated, especially in their first NHL season.
This time around, Ekman-Larsson is showing his offensive skills and proving he belongs on the ice more often as an offensive spark plug for a team that desperately needs it. One year of struggling to fit in and an offseason of working harder so far looks like it’s paying off for Ekman-Larsson and it’s providing the kind of example that should be set for unsigned restricted free agent Kyle Turris.
Turris too has struggled under Dave Tippett and is reportedly frustrated with how he’s been used and played in Phoenix. With the kind of breakout that Ekman-Larsson is having this year, it’s showing Turris that sometimes resting on your laurels and banking on your talent won’t cut it enough in some places.