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Oliver Ekman-Larsson Named Florida Panthers Nominee for Masterton Trophy



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Oliver Ekman-Larsson celebrates his overtime goal with Evan Rodrigues as the Florida Panthers beat the host New York Islanders 3-2 on Saturday night at Belmont Park. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been named the Florida Panthers nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

The Masterton Trophy is awarded by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association to commemorate the player ‘who exhibits the most perseverance and commitment to hockey.’

Ekman-Larsson was deemed to have exhibited those qualities the most by the PHWA’s Florida chapter.

After two injury-plagued seasons with the struggling Vancouver Canucks, and then being part of the largest buyout in NHL history, Ekman-Larsson has certainly proved that.

The former Coyotes star turned things around, had his best season since his trade from Arizona to Vancouver in 2020 and is now a crucial part of a Panthers team headed to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“I think injuries were one part of it, and we were not winning as a team,” Ekman-Larsson told FHN two weeks ago. “I think that’s always the biggest struggle. I think you play to win and be on a winning team, and that’s the frustrating part.

“Being healthy now and feeling good, you have a chance to do something special with a special group of guys. I think that’s super exciting, but it’s not always positive. You have to go through some hard stuff to kind of find yourself as a person and a player.

“I think every player goes through that, and I’ve been going through that like everybody else, and it’s how you deal with it and come out of it. That’s what defines you as a player and as a person. So I’m excited to be here and excited to be a part of a winning culture.”

In 77 games, Ekman-Larsson has nine goals and 30 points with a plus-eight.

He has his highest goal and point totals since 2018-19, when he scored 14 goals and 30 points in 81 games for the Coyotes.

The 32-year-old has also pitched in to fill multiple roles for the Panthers.

In the absence of Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour in the first month of the season, he played on the top pairing with Gus Forsling while manning the top power-play unit.

When the two star defensemen returned, he accepted a demotion to the bottom pairing and second power play unit with grace and stepped up to the plate whenever injuries called for him to play a bigger role.

“It makes you happy to see a guy like that,” Forsling told FHN. “It’s a guy I watched before I came over here. He’s a really good guy off the ice, too, so he really deserves it.

“He’s had a big impact right from the beginning when we started playing together. He was logging a lot of big minutes and he is good at everything. He was on PP1, the penalty kill, so he’s got a lot of experience and he is just a really good guy to have on your team.”

Ekman-Larsson is one 32 nominees selected from each team.

The winner of the award will be announced at the NHL Awards in June.



  • When: Saturday, 3 p.m.
  • Where: TD Garden, Boston
  • TV/Streaming: ABC/ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932; NHL App
  • Last Season — Regular Season: Tied 2-2; Playoffs: Florida won 4-3 (first-round)
  • This season (Bruins Lead 3-0) — At Boston: Bruins 3, Panthers 2 OT (Oct.30); Saturday. At Florida: Bruins 3, Panthers 1 (Nov. 22); Bruins 4, Panthers (March 26).
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Boston leads 63-37-7, 6 ties
  • All-time Postseason Series: Florida leads 2-0 (1996, 2023)
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Tuesday vs. Ottawa, 7 p.m.
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