It’s Halloween, which could really be any day in 2020, and that means it’s time once again to talk about the NHL’s spookiest team.
Arizona Coyotes defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson found himself right in the middle of the rumour mill ahead of this year’s underwhelming free agent signing period after he stated he’d only waive his no-movement clause to go to the Vancouver Canucks or Boston Bruins.
Ekman-Larsson’s agent stated a deadline of October 9 to move the defenceman and obviously that day came and went.
“I have a no trade/no movement clause in my contract. I picked those teams because I didn’t want to stand in the way of the team in case they felt like they needed to move me,” Ekman-Larsson said.
The blueliner went on to say that he “never really wanted to do anything but to stay in Arizona,” which is great news for the Coyotes.
According to reports, the team did have discussions with both the Bruins and Canucks.
But money is a thing and that makes acquiring Ekman-Larsson a tricky prospect for either the Bruins or Canucks. His contract has seven years to go to the tune of a $8.25 million annual cap hit.
The goal for Ekman-Larsson is to remain in Arizona until he’s 36, he says, so that’s a pretty firm commitment to the future for the 29-year-old. He was named team captain in 2018-2019 and has spent the entirety of his 10-year career with the Coyotes.
Arizona has no projected cap space and is obviously among the more cash-strapped clubs in the league. But they only have two defencemen signed beyond 2021-2022, with three players north of 30 (Niklas Hjalmarsson, Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers) set to hit UFA status after that.
“There were a lot of rumors that the team would sell and get rid of players to save money,” Ekman-Larsson said Wednesday. “But it never really happened and I actually think that we have a very good team on paper. We’re a really tight-knit group and I really appreciate that.”