With the news that the Arizona Coyotes have offered defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson a new contract extension at eight years and $66MM, the real question is whether or not the 26-year-old star defenseman intends to stay in Arizona. The defenseman can’t officially sign an extension until July 1, but not signing the deal will make it clear whether he really wants to stay in Arizona like he has previously said.
The New York Post’s Larry Brooks writes that if the defenseman doesn’t agree to sign the extension in the next couple of weeks, the team will almost guaranteed trade their star before the NHL draft this year to get the best possible return in the final year of his deal. In fact with the likelihood that the Ottawa Senators might be ready to move Erik Karlsson, this might be the best time for teams to get their hands on a star defenseman. Brooks adds that was one of the main reasons that the New York Rangers moved Ryan McDonagh at the trade deadline, because they foresaw the possibility that both Ekman-Larsson and Karlsson might be available during the offseason which would have limited their return for McDonagh had they waited until now.
- Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe writes that Boston University has narrowed its head coaching search to two candidates after the school lost David Quinn to the New York Rangers last week. The scribe writes that the head coaching post will come down to former alumni and ex-Boston Bruins winger Shawn McEachern and Union College head coach Rick Bennett. McEachern, who is currently the head coach at the Rivers School, would maintain the school’s long-time BU lineage, while Bennett would offer new blood and a coach who has already won a NCAA title.
- With the Dallas Stars’ AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars in the AHL Calder Cup Championships, much has been made about the Stars’ Denis Gurianov, Dallas’ first-round pick in the 2015 draft (12th overall), who was listed as a healthy scratch before Game 1 today. Despite tallying 19 goals for Texas this season, the fact that he has been a healthy scratch multiple times during the playoffs is an immensely bad sign, according to NHL.com’s Patrick Williams. In 14 playoff games this year, Gurianov has just five points. The Stars drafted Gurianov over several impactful players that year, including Mathew Barzal, Kyle Connor and Jack Roslovic.
- Vancouver Canucks and University of Michigan prospect Will Lockwood, who injured his shoulder while at the World Juniors this winter and required major surgery, has been cleared to skate and hopes to be ready for the Canucks’ annual prospect development camp this summer and is expected to be fully healthy for his junior year with the Wolverines, according to The Athletic’s Mike Halford (subscription required). The 2016 third-round pick was having a solid year with Michigan, putting up four goals and seven assists in 16 games before getting injured.