By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The interest between the Bruins and Oliver Ekman-Larsson appears to be mutual, as the Arizona Coyotes captain is apparently willing to waive his no-movement clause to facilitate a trade to Boston.
It’s one of just two destinations the 29-year-old has circled, too.
“He’s identified the two cities and the organizations that he’s willing to waive [his no-movement clause] to go to, and that’s the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks,” TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Thursday night.
This is in line with what Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported earlier in the day. And it’s left new Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong to work with the phones with B’s general manager Don Sweeney and the Canucks’ Jim Benning.
“Bill Armstrong is actively working with both Boston and Vancouver,” Dreger noted. “He’s trying to get something done. There is a bit of pressure from the player perspective.”
Ekman-Larsson’s contract is hardly an easy one to absorb, too, with the career-long ‘Yote on the hook for $8.25 million per season for the next seven seasons. That term, in addition to Ekman-Larsson’s desire to move to the Bruins, may be something that ultimately works in the B’s favor, too, as revealed by Dreger.
“It sounds like Arizona, even though they don’t want to do this, is going to have to retain some money or take some contracts back,” said Dreger.
That changes things in a big way for the Bruins.
While the reported asking price from the Coyotes is certainly doable as is, getting the Coyotes to eat some of that $8.25 million cap hit is certainly of major interest to the Bruins. (The Bruins don’t have a player with a cap hit higher than David Krejci’s $7.25 million, and that’s largely been by design as the B’s have prioritized financial flexibility in their Cup window’s reopening.)
The Bruins could also staple a contract like John Moore’s ($2.75 million per for the next three seasons) — or perhaps Nick Ritchie (under $1.5 million through next year) or Anders Bjork ($1.6 million for the next three seasons) — to complete a deal.
The Canucks have their share of contracts to send the Coyotes’ way in a potential OEL deal, too, beginning with Loui Eriksson and the final two years of his six-year, $36 million deal ($6 million cap hit).
The Bruins and Canucks are both negotiating with just over $14 million in available cap space, and neither team possesses their 2020 first-round pick. Boston lost theirs in the Ondrej Kase trade this past trade deadline, while the Canucks parted with theirs in a summer 2019 trade for J.T. Miller. (The Canucks don’t even have a second-round pick in 2020, for that matter.)
Ekman-Larsson, who put up nine goals and 30 points in 66 regular season games this past season, is the early headliner in a B’s offseason that’s already included trade rumors involving a potential wing swap, Jake DeBrusk, and goaltender Tuukka Rask.
Listen to Ty Anderson and Matt Dolloff talk Bruins on the newest episode of the Sports Hub Sidelines podcast: