Christopher Ralph is a hockey writer with a focus on prospects and the entry draft, as well as the Leafs’ correspondent here at THW.
“Full Potential” Prospect Profile:
6. Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Karlskrona, SWE – 6’2″ 176 lbs – Allsvenskan – Leksand – D
One-Timer: The secret is out. Readers don’t even need The Hockey Spy to reveal this sky-rocketing gem! “OEL” has been called a poor-man’s Nik Lidstrom. That’s actually a compliment! Already possessing a pro-level shot, the fluid puck-moving defenseman might very well land in the Top 5 of this draft. “OEL” also has radar-like passing ability coming out of his own zone, making effortless pinpoint stretch passes.
NHL Player(s) Comparison: Niklas Kronwall, Nik Lidstrom -lite, Sergei Zubov
Scouting Combine Performance:
- Gare noted “Oliver Eklund-Larsson, the Swedish defenceman whose stock climbed dramatically this season, BA BA”, that is, below average with respect to upper and lower body physical development.
- TSN staff reported OEL “was really skinny, but has a projectable frame with lots of room to grow. At the same time he only managed half a dozen bench presses, so he’ll need to get stronger.”
- NHL.com, interestingly, stated OEL finished second overall in the VO2 max aerobic fitness test, which measures how quickly a player can recover between shifts. He scored 68.7 milliliters per kilogram per minute. The average for the group was 56.8, up from 56.3 a year ago.
International Tournaments: OEL was a top-pairing blueliner for Sweden’s WJC-U18 entry and registered an impressive 8 points in 6 games from the back end.
ETA = 2 to 3 years
Risk-Reward Analysis: Risk = 2/5 Reward = 5/5
NHL Potential: #1 offensive defenseman
Fantasy Hockey Potential: Offensive = 9/10 Defensive = 9/10
- ISS: 9
- CSB: 4-E
- TSN: 10
- THN: 13
Video Links: (Shown briefly – ranked #8)