The Oliver Ekman-Larsson rumors are heating up with the 2020 NHL Draft and the start of free agency kicking off next week, and the Boston Bruins are among the teams to watch.
Ekman-Larsson's list (for now) is believed to include BOS & VAN. Things can always change.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 1, 2020
Coyotes reporter Craig Morgan added further details to Friedman's tweet:
Boston has been a favored destination. The devil is in the details, particularly in this crazy market. https://t.co/DOz79cR1UV— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) October 1, 2020
Ekman-Larsson's contract -- which runs for seven more years with an $8.25 million salary cap hit -- has a no-movement clause, per CapFriendly, so he has a lot of control over this process. He has to waive the NMC for a trade to happen.
Report: Bruins have gauged Tuukka Rask's trade value
The Coyotes captain has been linked to the Bruins for a few weeks now.
Friedman wrote on Sept. 17 that the Bruins, along with other teams, had "checked in" on the Swedish defenseman. TSN's Darren Dreger talked about OEL's future during Tuesday's edition of "Insider Trading", during which he said "I would put Boston in that group of teams with interest as well."
If the Bruins are unable or unwilling to re-sign defenseman Torey Krug before he hits free agency, making a move to acquire Ekman-Larsson would be an effective way to bolster the team's blue line.
Ekman-Larsson is a very talented, all-around defenseman with impressive offensive skills (40-50 points per season), good size (6-foot-2 and 200 pounds) and excellent skating ability. He would be able to play 20-plus minutes per game on the first or second pairing and contribute on special teams. He's also developed strong leadership qualities after taking over for Coyotes legend Shane Doan as Arizona captain.
The cost to acquire Ekman-Larsson reportedly is high, but with the Bruins very much in win-now mode and potentially staring at a huge hole on the blue line if Krug departs, a strong case can be made that trading for the Coyotes star is worth the risk.