Ekman-Larsson 'never really wanted' to leave Coyotes, despite Bruins rumors originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was the most popular name in trade rumors before free agency started earlier this month, but all signs point to him beginning the 2020-21 season with the only NHL team he's ever known.
Reports surfaced at the beginning of October that Ekman-Larsson would only waive his no-movement clause to join the Boston Bruins or Vancouver Canucks. His agent revealed a deadline of Friday, Oct. 9 for the Coyotes to trade OEL, and nothing materialized.
In a recent interview with Ronnie Ronnkvist of Swedish outlet Hockey Sverige, Ekman-Larsson revealed he is happy with how the situation unfolded.
"I have a no trade/no movement clause in my contract. I picked those teams because I didn't want to stand in the way of the team in case they felt like they needed to move me," Ekman-Larsson said, as translated by Ronnkvist's colleague, Uffe Bodin.
"That's the person I am. I put those teams there as alternatives, but I never really wanted to move. I never really wanted to do anything but to stay in Arizona. I'm really happy that it ended this way. I really like to live there and it would have been very hard for me to leave."
Being part of the rumor mill was an unfamiliar situation that was difficult for the Coyotes captain.
"I signed because I wanted to be in Arizona until I'm 36," Ekman-Larsson told Ronnkvist. "When this rumor appeared, it felt awkward and it was a tough situation. I had never been in a situation like this before with trade rumors. Mentally, it was tough."
One of the problems with trading for Ekman-Larsson is his contract. It has seven more years remaining and a large $8.25 million salary cap hit. It's not the easiest contract to take in, especially for a team like the Bruins that doesn't have much cap room.
Still, the Bruins were an interesting spot for Ekman-Larsson given their need for a top-four defenseman.
Veteran defenseman Torey Krug left the B's in free agency to sign a seven-year, $45.5 million contract with the St. Louis Blues. The Bruins have yet to replace Krug with another top-four defenseman, and unless Boston acquires one via trade, it will go into next season with a less-than-ideal amount of depth and talent on the blue line.