Coyotes listening to Oliver Ekman-Larsson offers

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With the NHL offseason fast approaching and several notable deals have already taken place in recent weeks, the trade winds are blowing in the league. One of the more intriguing players that could be available is the captain of the Arizona Coyotes. Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports there is interest in the star defenseman, naming the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers as three teams that have registered. However, he adds that there are definitely more interested teams.Ekman-Larsson, who ranks second on Athletic’s top business targets list, has been an elite defenseman in the NHL since entering the league full-time in 2011-12. A true two-way blue doubler who is good for over 40 points and over 150 hits almost every year, Ekman-Larsson plays big minutes and in all situations. He would be an asset to any NHL team.

However, Ekman-Larsson also comes with the price of a cap of $ 8.25 million hit over seven more years. For this reason, The Athletic accurately states that there is a substantial risk of acquiring the Swedish star. TSN’s Travis Yost also warns that most defenders start to decline after the age of 27 and that Ekman-Larsson, 29, has already shown signs of slipping.

That said, any team interested in Ekman-Larsson also knows that they have all the weight in trade negotiations. While the Coyotes don’t necessarily have to trade Ekman-Larsson, they do need to move a player, or possibly several, this offseason. Arizona is in the league’s worst salary cap position with just about $ 1 million in cap space and only 17 incumbents have signed. While the team can get $ 5.275 million in relief by placing Marian Hossa on the injured reserve, they have only about $ 6.5 million left and six spots to fill, including three key limited free agents to sign. If the Yotes choose to move Ekman-Larsson, it would do wonders for their salary cap situation. Yet, they are also very unlikely to get any fair value back for him due to their dire situation. For this reason, the new GM Bill Armstrong may not want their first major move to be to sell a franchise icon for pennies on the dollar.

At the moment, it looks like the teams are just kicking the tires and the Coyotes have not made a decision on whether Ekman-Larsson is actually available. However, in the difficult flat-cap environment that many teams face this offseason, there’s no way of knowing what might happen. Ekman-Larsson could very well start next season with a new team and it might not even take a blockbuster to have him.

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