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Allen: Moving Ekman-Larsson presents challenge for Coyotes

June 22, 2021, 5:30 PM ET [26 Comments]
The Arizona Coyotes will feel like they are running a track meet when they try to trade defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Many hurdles have to be cleared before they can reach the finish line.

Ekman-Larsson has a full no-movement clause, meaning he has final say about if, or where, he goes

With most teams feeling the hurt of a flat salary cap, the Coyotes are trying to move an Ekman-Larsson contract with a cap hit of $8.25 million for the next six seasons. Some potential trade partners may view this as taking a salary off the Coyotes’ hands, rather than a bona fide trade.

Plus, in real salary terms, Ekman-Larsson is scheduled to be paid $10.5 million in each of the next three seasons, according to capfriendly.com. Then his yearly salary starts to decline. But those three seasons at $10.5 million are significant hits for teams that lost a considerable amount of revenue during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Finally, NHL teams seem concerned about Ekman-Larsson’s level of play. Is he the same player he was a couple of seasons ago?

All of those factors make the situation a hard read, but here are some teams that may have interest in talking to the Coyotes about Ekman-Larsson:

Columbus Blue Jackets: Presuming the Blue Jackets will trade Seth Jones, Ekman-Larsson might be intriguing. Given that the Blue Jackets have had difficulty keeping players, the length of his contract might be a plus. Could they persuade the Coyotes to retain some salary? And then the question is whether Ekman-Larsson is interested in playing in Columbus. He would have Zach Werenski to share the load.

Boston Bruins:
They have to re-sign Tuukka Rask, David Krejci and Brandon Carlo, but they may have cap space left to get this done. They could use another defenseman who can eat up minutes, but the $8.25 million seems like too much, especially given that they want to sign Taylor Hall.

Seattle Kraken:
The Kraken need some heavier salary cap hits just to get to the floor of the salary cap. He’s still a good power play guy and probably can still score 10-12 goals per season. Would the Coyotes be willing to give up something to make this happen?

Chicago Blackhawks:
The Hawks are looking for a veteran defenseman because they want to be more competitive next season. Again, retaining some salary would probably need to occur. He probably could help this team, but there are many factors to consider before seriously considering this trade.
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