The Arizona Coyotes have been trying to trade captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson over the past few weeks, asking him to give them a list of teams that he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to. The star defenseman has given them an option of just the Vancouver Canucks or Boston Bruins and has now put a clock on the negotiations as well.
Ekman-Larsson’s agent Kevin Epp of Titan Sports Management has contacted several media members including Darren Dreger of TSN, explaining that his client wishes to be traded before free agency opens on Friday. If a deal cannot be completed before then, Ekman-Larsson will remain in Arizona.
The 29-year-old defenseman is heading into just the second season of an eight-year, $66MM contract extension he signed in 2018 to stay in Arizona. When Ekman-Larsson signed that contract and included a full no-movement clause throughout, he likely believed that he would spend his entire career with the Coyotes, the team that drafted him sixth overall in 2009.
Instead, new management approached him this offseason with the potential of a trade, likely due to the need to cut payroll drastically after the coronavirus shutdown. Ekman-Larsson is the Coyotes’ highest-paid player and will be entering the most expensive years of his contract after this season. In each of the three seasons following 2020-21, he is owed $10.5MM in total salary, before his contract starts to fall off. Getting out from under that now would save Arizona plenty of cash, plus hopefully recoup several valuable assets.
If they’re going to pull it off, it’s going to have to happen quickly. Notably, the Coyotes do not have a selection in the first three rounds of tonight’s entry draft.