Vancouver Canucks not expecting Oliver Ekman-Larsson to return this season
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
2 months ago
Following Wednesday’s practice, Vancouver Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet told reporters that he doesn’t expect defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to return to the lineup this season.
“He’s off the cast. He’s walking now,” said Tocchet. “He’s really worked hard the last 3 or 4 weeks. This is a big summer for him. I know a lot of people count him out. I don’t know, I got a feeling that he’s going to have a really good year. There’s a gleam in his eye. I can tell that he’s going to use this as motivation; things haven’t gone his way a lot a bunch of years now and I think this is something that, he’s going to take this summer and into another level. I really believe it.”
Ekman-Larsson sprained his ankle during the Canucks’ game against the New York Rangers on February 15th. Tocchet initially stated that the injury would keep Ekman-Larsson out for weeks. The new Canucks bench boss coached Ekman-Larsson in Arizona from 2017 to 2021 when both were members of the Coyotes.
The Canucks have 12 games remaining on their schedule, and it’s not much of a surprise to hear that OEL has run out of time to make a full recovery and return to the lineup. Ekman-Larsson has been spotted around the rink on crutches.
After an okay first season with the Canucks, Ekman-Larsson’s play seemingly fell off a cliff this year. Many have wondered if the Canucks will choose to buy out the soon to be 32-year-old Swede’s contract, which carries a cap hit of $7.26 million for the next four seasons.
The Canucks acquired Ekman-Larsson and forward Conor Garland in a trade heading into the 2021-22 season, sending Loui Eriksson, Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle, the 2021 9th overall pick (Dylan Guenther), a 2022 2nd round pick, and a 2023 seventh round pick.
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