Canucks rumours: Keeping a close eye on Oliver Ekman-Larsson


TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 11: Oliver Ekman-Larsson #23 of the Arizona Coyotes skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on February 11, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Coyotes 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Even though autumn has officially begun, it is another “dog days of summer” kind of day for fans of the Vancouver Canucks. The draft is only one week away, free agency opens just a few days after that (October 9th), and General Manager Jim Benning still hasn’t made an offseason move of any sort.

With potential salary cap problems looming and difficult decisions to be made on a few younger players, it would make complete sense that Benning is doing the best he can to see what the trade market has to offer. He needs to know what the value of certain players seems to be. A handful of trades to create space or acquire a new defender is seeming more and more likely each day.

The latest rumour swirling around is that the Canucks and Coyotes have been discussing a swap. More specifically, Benning has his eyes set on Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Bill Armstrong is in the market to recuperate draft picks. His team was hit with a stiff penalty after violating the NHL Combine testing policy and was forced to surrender this year’s second-round pick and next year’s first-round selection.

But would they be willing to part ways with their captain? He’s locked up for seven more seasons at $8.25 million dollars annually. My guess is that it would without a doubt take more than just a few draft picks to wet the tastebuds of Arizona. A package would likely have to include one or two first-round picks, Jake Virtanen, and one of either Olli Juolevi or Jack Rathbone.

Seems like a steep price to pay for another left-handed defender. Especially with no first or second-round pick of their own in 2020. Sure, Ekman-Larsson is a top-two defender on any team in the NHL, but he doesn’t exactly fit the mould of this Canucks team. Quinn Hughes is untouchable and the same thing can be said about Alex Edler. He loves his no-trade clause and there is absolutely no way he waives it.

That leaves a third-pairing spot which is definitely not something Ekman-Larsson would be down for. Travis Green could push Edler down to that third role position, but that would take away from NHL-ready prospects waiting for their chance, and the gaping hole on the right would still be there.

Furthermore, the Canucks should only truly be considering this if they can move out some dead weight. If the Coyotes would be willing to take on the contract of Brandon Sutter or more specifically, Loui Eriksson, then it’s definitely something Benning has to think long and hard about.

Could you imagine seeing Hughes, Ekman-Larsson, Edler and Tyler Myers all playing for the same team? Talk about a deadly defence.

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Oliver Ekman-Larsson

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