Oliver Ekman-Larsson reportedly agrees to 8-year, $64M extension with Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes don't draw a ton of stars in free agency, so they're locking down the one they have
It doesn't appear that Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will be hitting the trade block now or any time soon. Entering the final year of his contract, Ekman-Larsson has reportedly agreed in principle to an 8-year extension worth $64 million with the Coyotes, a market-setting deal for a defenseman, per Darren Dreger on TSN. NHL free agency will begin on July 1, when the Coyotes will officially sign the extension, but Ekman-Larsson's future with the Coyotes is apparently secure.
The deal will have a ripple effect, with several other key defensemen looking for extensions this offseason. John Carlson, who had an excellent year with the Stanley Cup-winning Capitals, is an unrestricted free agent on July 1, while the Kings' Drew Doughty is entering the final year of his contract. The other biggest defenseman in free agency, Erik Karlsson of the Senators, will likely sign a contract similar to or slightly larger than this one once he becomes a free agent on July 1.
Ekman-Larsson has been a lone bright spot for the Coyotes the past few years. The defenseman has finished within the top 10 of Norris Trophy voting twice, and he's played fewer than 75 games just twice in his eight seasons with Arizona. Although his goal-scoring numbers are down from 2014 and 2015, he's still a steady part of the Coyotes' first pair, and a key part of their power play. Six of his 14 goals came on the power play last year.
Although Ekman-Larsson's contract wasn't due to run out until 2019, this takes the possibility of trading for him off the table. Not only does it show the Coyotes are all-in on him, it makes his contract incredibly difficult to take on. We don't know the details of the extension, but a no-trade clause is very likely in it as well.
The Coyotes finished 29-41-12 last year, dead last in the Pacific Division. They're apparently committed to trying to build around Ekman-Larsson, so at least they have their star in place for the time being.
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