Done Deal: Just In Toronto Maple Leafs Confirm The Signing Former Stanley Cup Winner To A Deal Worth

**Maple Leafs Sign Oliver Ekman-Larsson**

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed Oliver Ekman-Larsson, a player with a career marked by ups and downs, including moves from Arizona to Vancouver, and then to Florida.

Ekman-Larsson, now 32, has had two challenging recent years, making this signing somewhat risky. In 2019, he underwent knee surgery, which is common among NHL players, but he experienced lingering pain the following year. He anticipated a strong return for the delayed 2020-2021 season, but it didn’t pan out.

The situation worsened in 2022 when he broke his foot at the World Championships in May. This injury disrupted his summer training, and he admitted to being slow and ineffective during a tough year in Vancouver, compounded by knee problems.


Last season with Florida, Ekman-Larsson played effectively behind a strong top four. The Panthers are one of the few teams with a genuinely balanced top four defense, similar to Carolina. His minutes were reduced mid-season, relegating him to third-pairing minutes, which set him up for a strong playoff performance.

Toronto faces a different challenge. The Leafs have a strong top pair but will rely on a bottom four managed by committee due to limited cap space, which impacts Ekman-Larsson and other signings. The focus should be on defense, a role Chris Tanev excels in, but Ekman-Larsson can fill the need for a power-play defender better than Jake McCabe.

This signing is far from ideal, as finding a defensively solid, offensively valuable power-play defender for $4 million or less is difficult. Fitting such a player into a constrained cap space requires compromises.

The main risks with Ekman-Larsson are overplaying him and potential age-related decline. While Tanev has shown he isn’t declining, Ekman-Larsson hasn’t yet proven this. Nonetheless, the current defense corps is an improvement over last year’s.

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