Edmonton Oilers player review and 2023-24 preview: Mattias Ekholm
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing1 month ago
Welcome to the 2022-23 season review and 2023-24 season preview player-by-player! In this and other articles, we’ll be, well, reviewing the 2022-23 season of Edmonton Oilers players and previewing their 2023-24 season. You can read about the analytics behind my analysis here.
Welcome back, Mattias Ekholm.
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There’s an easy argument to make that Mattias Ekholm is one of the most important trade acquisitions in the Edmonton Oilers’ storied history. After joining the club on Feb. 28, Ekholm stepped into the Oilers’ top-four and was nothing short of a dynamite player every time he was on the ice.
He helped calm down Evan Bouchard’s game allowing the young offensive defenceman to play more to his strengths, and shut down the opposition any time they crossed the Oilers’ blueline. Simply put: his impact on the Oilers is almost hard to quantify.
In his small sample size of 21 games last season, the Oilers outscored their opposition by 21 goals and the team dominated every facet of the game with him out there. On top of that, his own individual contributions pegged him as one of the best defencemen in the league playing well above what would be considered a top-pairing defenceman.
The Oilers got high-danger looks often in the offensive zone with him on the ice, and good luck trying to get down low on the Oilers’ own crease.
His play has elevated the Oilers blueline in a big way, and this season it appears he and Evan Bouchard will form the clubs top pairing. It’s something I wrote about early on in the pre-season, and is a coaching decision that could have significant positive reverberations down the depth chart for this franchise.
Expect another big year from Ekholm.
EKHOLM’S CAREER SO FAR
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Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
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