Last season, when he was adjusting to full-time life in the NHL, Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was somewhat of an unknown among his peers.

But now that’s changed.

“When I talk to players around the league, they know who No. 23, is and they know that they gotta make sure they’re aware of where he is on the ice all the time, because he’s sneaky good,” said Darren Pang, a former Coyotes broadcaster who is an analyst for TSN and the St. Louis Blues.

That buzz already has reached its subject, but Ekman-Larsson can filter it.

“I’ve heard people talk about me, but I don’t really listen to that stuff,” Ekman-Larsson said. “I just try to do my thing out there.”

The Coyotes will have a tougher time ignoring that praise. The 21-year-old will become a restricted free agent at season’s end when his entry-level contract expires, and management will be bombarded with his accolades.

He averages a team-high 25 minutes 11 seconds a game. His 17 points led the Coyotes until a few days ago. And he has the best rating on the team with a plus-9 mark.

This first-half performance — after 13 goals and 32 points in his first full season last year that was accompanied by an impressive playoff campaign — already has placed Ekman-Larsson on the short list for the NHL’s Norris Trophy with many outlets listing him as one of the NHL’s better defensemen.