After spending most of 2020-21 in the NHL rumor mill, Oliver Ekman-Larsson was traded by the Arizona Coyotes to the Vancouver Canucks last July in a multi-player deal. Nearly a year later, there's speculation suggesting the 30-year-old defenseman could be on the move again.
Speaking with CHEK-TV'S Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal on Monday, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman anticipated the Canucks will be “a very aggressive team” during the offseason. He felt the club could try to find a trade market for Ekman-Larsson.
Friedman also pointed out Ekman-Larsson would have a say in any attempt to move him. That's because his full no-movement clause remained as part of his contract after he gave his blessing for the Coyotes to move him to the Canucks.
Efforts to shop Ekman-Larsson wouldn't be based on his performance. While his production was the lowest of his career over a full 82-game schedule (29 points), his average ice time (22:19) was second among Canucks skaters.
It would be more of a cost-cutting move. The Canucks are carrying $7.26 million of Ekman-Larsson's $8.25-million annual average value through 2026-27 with the Coyotes retaining the rest. Cap Friendly shows them with over $69 million invested in 13 players with the cost of qualifying restricted free agent winger Brock Boeser at $7.5 million.
Finding a suitable trade partner to take Ekman-Larsson off their hands won't be easy. He'll likely only waive his no-movement clause for a small number of teams. The remaining term and annual cap hit will also complicate matters.