There is over a month until the NHL trade deadline arrives, and the Arizona Coyotes could make a deal involving Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The team has an important decision to make in the coming weeks due to an impending free agency. There are at least three teams that have shown interest already and there could be more prospective trade partners depending on what Arizona asks for.
In a report on Saturday via the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch, it's mentioned that Ekman-Larsson has "no shortage of suitors" ahead of the NHL's upcoming trade deadline. The Coyotes will have to decide on Ekman-Larsson's future with the team due to the fact he's a free agent next summer. It's also noted that while Ekman-Larsson could be dealt this summer, there may be NHL teams interested in acquiring him now. That would give the new team Ekman-Larsson's services for two potential playoff runs before his free agency arrives.
The 26-year-old defenseman has been part of his current team since they drafted him ahead of the 2010-11 NHL season. Ekman-Larsson has played in a total of 539 games and has scored 95 goals while also tallying 173 assists for 268 total career points. He was also recently selected to appear in his second NHL All-Star Game of his career.
There were several NHL teams that were already interested in Ekman-Larsson with the Toronto Maple Leafs topping the list. Toronto is currently 25-17-3 and vying for the Atlantic division with the Bruins and Lightning ahead of them. Also said to have shown interest in Ekman-Larsson were the Philadelphia Flyers and the New Jersey Devils. The Devils are third in the Metropolitan while Philadelphia (20-15-8) is third-to-last in the division.
The snag on a deal getting done could be the Arizona Coyotes' asking price for the defenseman. It was reported by the Sun's Garrioch that the team wants "two high-end players off a club's roster" as well as a first-round draft pick. That could cause some of the interested parties to back away unless Arizona decides to lower their asking price.They may eventually do that, as the team is currently 10-28-7 and sitting at dead last in the NHL standings. Just last week, they made a deal with the Chicago Blackhawks sending them Anthony Duclair in a four-player trade. Another big trade could continue to help this team rebuild for success in future seasons and it seems the time is now to make a decision on their defenseman.