It’s only fair to speculate that a player of the calibration Oliver Ekman-Larsson is would one day leave the Arizona Coyotes. They’re not exactly a cup contending team right now, so you’d think that maybe the player themselves would want to potentially move on and cash in in another city. But for OEL, it appears he’s going to be staying put with the Coyotes for the foreseeable future.
The 26-year-old from Karlskrona, Sweden has one-year left on his current $5.5mil a year deal with Arizona, so his names been banded about in trade rumours recently.
But it seems the Coyotes have been telling the 30 other NHL teams that he’s off the market, with a new 8-year deal close to being announced according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.
Darren Dreger of TSN reports as well that it’s expected to be around the $8 mil a year mark, which if true could put him in the top 5 highest earning defenceman, up their with the likes of P.K. Subban and Brent Burns.
Initially joining the Coyotes after they took him 6th overall in the 2009 draft, he’s gone on to post 290 points in 576 career games, and has become one of the premier defenceman in the NHL.
Coyotes GM John Chayka spoke at the NHL Combine earlier in June with confidence that OEL will remain in Arizona.
“We’ve been very clear that we’re willing to do whatever we possibly can to have him come back.” Chayka said earlier this month.
Arizona will still have to decide whether or not to keep veteran defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson after next season with his deal coming to an end, while they also have a few of their young stars coming up on new deals like Brendan Perlini, Christian Dvorak and Jakob Chychrun.
They also have the likes of Max Domi to re-sign this summer so the Coyotes will have to be smart with their cap space over the next 12 months.
With Ekman-Larsson expected to be officially signed on July 1st when free agency opens after reportedly agreeing verbally, it means that there is at least one name off the board for next years class of free agent defenceman.
Drew Doughty of the LA Kings and Erik Karlsson from the Senators are the leading names heading into free agency next summer.
Featured image – Richard Hartog/AP Photo