Canucks make $66M defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson a healthy scratch vs. Lightning

Oliver Ekman-Larsson left the Canucks.  composition on Thursday.  (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Oliver Ekman-Larsson is out of the Canucks. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau garnered attention Thursday when he acknowledged defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson could do a great job against the Tampa Bay Lightning that night.

“Look, we’ll have to scratch a couple of players” Boudreau explained. “I think [Ekman-Larsson] could be better, but I think there are a lot of guys who could be better. Now about responsibility. It’s about many things, so that’s what you don’t want to do. He’s probably our best defender but sometimes you have to do what you think is best for the team right at the moment and that’s obviously what I do.”

Ekman-Larsson didn’t really make it into the squad and was forced to watch the game from the press box. For the first time since March 29, 2011 4307 days ago – that he experienced an unfortunate difference.

A veteran of 13 NHL seasons, Ekman-Larsson has 57 goals on the ice as the Canucks sit 12th in the Western Conference with 37 points. They are 10 points behind the Edmonton Oilers and are in last place in the wilds with three games to spare.

This season, for the second time with Vancouver, Ekman-Larsson scored a goal and provided 17 assists for a 45.2 Corsi For while averaging 20:28 on the ice per night.

The Swedish native was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes in 2021 along with forward Conor Garland. The Canucks sent Louis Eriksson, Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel and several other draft picks to Arizona.

Ekman-Larsson is currently in the fourth year of an eight-year, $66 million contract he signed while in Arizona and has a full no-move clause. It becomes an expensive seat in the press box after hitting the $8.25 million ceiling.

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