Sport Long-term extension would make sense for Coyotes, Ekman-Larsson

05:06  17 may  2018
05:06  17 may  2018 Source:   nbcsports.com

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The Phoenix Coyotes may not know where their future will take them, but it will definitely include defenseman Oliver Ekman - Larsson . “He is an important part of our future and we are pleased to have agreed on a long term contract.”

The Arizona Coyotes will have a decision to make on defenceman Oliver Ekman - Larsson . An unrestricted free agent on July 1, Johnson, 31, has a cap hit of .375 million, but there’s talk the Jackets offered a long - term deal earlier this year worth less than million per season.

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The Arizona Coyotes and Oliver Ekman-Larsson are in talks about a possible eight-year contract extension that would carry a cap hit of a bit more than $8 million per season, according to Craig Morgan of ArizonaSports.com.

Do note that, whether a deal is actually close to be agreed upon or the situation is fluid, an extension wouldn’t become official until July, when “OEL” is first eligible for such a contract. (He’ll enter the final year of his current deal in 2018-19).

So, things could fall apart between now and then.

Still, such an extension could make a lot of sense for both the Swedish defenseman and the fledgling Coyotes. Let’s dive in under the assumption that an eight-year deal would cost (slightly?) more than $64M, which is essentially the extensionBrent Burns signed with the San Jose Sharks in November 2016.

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Oliver Ekman - Larsson - D - Coyotes . Plus, Ekman - Larsson is still just 26-years-old so he could be part of the Coyotes ' long - term solution if he's open to re-signing. With that in mind, we don't expect him to be dealt unless a team is willing to make the Coyotes a major offer they feel they can't refuse.

— Oliver Ekman - Larsson said he would like to sign a contract extension with the Coyotes when he is eligible on July 1. He will make million next season. Ekman - Larsson had 42 points (14 goals, 28 assists) in 82 games.

Peace of mind (and maybe some control?) for OEL

Ekman-Larsson (26, turning 27 on July 17) is currently on a deal with a $5.5M cap hit and $7M salary heading into 2018-19. OEL’s contract lacks a no-trade or no-movement clause, so if negotiations fell through, he could find himself in a less-than-desirable situation as a “rental.”

By signing a deal in that Burns range, he’d carry one of the biggest cap hits of any NHL defenseman, at least as of this writing (trailing P.K. Subban, but slightly more than Burns, Shea Weber, and Aaron Ekblad). Of course, as of this writing is the key phrase, but we’ll get to that in the Coyotes’ section.

OEL opting to sign that contract brings plenty of benefits:

  • Not needing to answer a bunch of questions about his contract year.
  • Avoiding the risk of an injury derailing/lowering his prospects of getting a new deal. Eight years is the maximum term, so OEL would land the most security possible, covering the next nine years of his career.
  • Speaking of years, the Coyotes are the only team that could sign him for eight. This could be advantageous for Ekman-Larsson even if things actually turned sour with Arizona, especially if he …
  • Possibly gets a no-trade or no-movement clause, gaining more say in his future, even if he loses the ultimate freedom of exploring the free agent market.

Yes, there’s a lot to like from OEL’s standpoint. So, what about the Coyotes?

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The latter claim, Brooks writes, might make the most sense . However, from what McKenzie can see, the Coyotes are not willing to discuss moving Ekman - Larsson as of now. Antti Raanta Signs .75MM Extension With Arizona Coyotes . Joel Quenneville, Stan Bowman Will Return To

Trade talk has followed the Coyotes ’ Oliver Ekman - Larsson for much of the campaign. What makes sense is the Coyotes announcing on July 1, 2018 - the earliest date they can -that their franchise defenseman has signed an eight-year contract extension .

Getting ahead of the gold rush for defensemen

Now, it’s worth noting that some key moments for soon-to-be-richer defensemen could happen in late June by way of trades at or around the 2018 NHL Draft on June 22. For all we know, Erik Karlsson could be traded from Ottawa, possibly accelerating his own schedule to sign an extension.

Karlsson and Ekman-Larsson are far from the only prominent defensemen who will enter 2018-19 as contract years (assuming they don’t sign extensions themselves). Karlsson and Drew Doughtyaren’t shy about possibly driving up their own prices, maybe together. Ryan McDonagh isn’t setting the world on fire with the Lightning, but the market could still send piles of money his way consider the demand for defensemen and the scant supply of capable ones. Ryan Ellis is another defenseman worth watching if he rides things out with Nashville next season.

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The trade rumors stalking Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman - Larsson are not going to go The first place to look for more money is at the buyout, retained salary and Long - Term Injury So that’s ,850,000 that can be added to Ekman - Larsson ’s contract without making any hard decisions.

Ekman - Larsson is on an extended hot streak, posting five goals and eight assists across the past 15 Strome was summoned on Tuesday and it makes sense that they'd play him after doing so. Bolland will probably open the season on the long - term injured reserve list after failing his physical.

From OEL’s perspective, he’d avoid the threat of a potential buyers’ market. The Coyotes, on the other hand, might look at the very real potential for Doughty and Karlsson to command deals at or above Jack Eichel‘s extension, thus making $8M a reasonable, risk-reducing price.

Question of worth

Now, it’s fair to wonder if OEL would actually be worth $8M per season. Ekman-Larsson’s mostly been a strong possession player on a bad team, and his 85 goals since 2013-14 ranks second among defensemen. Still, he’s only passed the 50-point plateau once (2015-16), so he hasn’t necessarily had that “huge” year one might demand from a player seeking that big payday. (None of this is to say that he isn’t very good; instead, it’s just a reminder that big cash inspires big-time nitpicking.)

It’s tough to imagine him not being worth it for the Coyotes, though, so the debate feels a bit moot. Perhaps they’d be on firmer ground to grind something out if they won the draft lottery, but the fifth pick likely means adding another nice piece rather than a revolutionary one as Rasmus Dahlin is hyped to possibly be.

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Oliver Ekman - Larsson has reached the 40-point milestone. Ekman - Larsson got there by Bolland will probably open the season on the long - term injured reserve list after failing his physical. This was Raanta's first appearance since signing a three-year contract extension on Friday.

The Phoenix Coyotes opened up their checkbooks, inking uber-defenseman Oliver Ekman - Larsson to a 6-year extension rumored to be worth million. “He is an important part of our future and we are pleased to have agreed on a long term contract.”

The Coyotes showed that they wanted to make the next step by trading for Derek Stepan, Antti Raanta, and Niklas Hjalmarsson last summer. While the results weren’t quite what they hoped for in 2017-18, would they really want to take a step back by letting their best defenseman/player* go after next season?

Yes, with just about any big extension or contract, there are risks to consider, especially in a sport where a career-derailing injury could always be one hard collision away. It’s also plausible that Ekman-Larsson might buckle under the pressure of such a contract. Being labeled an “albatross” can really mess with an athlete’s head, even if they don’t get the reference.

All things considered, if the Coyotes and OEL agree to a deal along the lines of what Morgan reports, it would probably rank as an “everyone wins” situation.

Bonus points if Ekman-Larsson can actually, you know, help the Coyotes start winning.

* – Hey, for all we know, Clayton Keller could become “The Guy” in Arizona by next season.

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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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