The Arizona Coyotes answered the question as to whether they would keep Oliver Ekman-Larsson or use him as the latest bargaining chip in their rebuild, reportedly agreeing to a new deal with the defenseman.
According to TSN, the 26-year-old has verbally agreed to an eight-year deal worth over $8 million per season. Ekman-Larsson was going into the final year of a six-year, $33 million contract he signed in 2013.
The Coyotes are coming off back-to-back 70-point seasons and haven’t made the playoffs since 2011-12. With the rebuilding dragging on, other teams had inquired about the availability of Ekman-Larsson in exchange for prospects and/or draft picks. But the Arizona Republic and Sportsnet both reported Monday that teams were told he was off the market.
Despite their lack of success, Ekman-Larsson has expressed a desire to remain in Arizona — where he has spent his entire career.
Ekman-Larsson was the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft by the Coyotes. The Swede has been a consistent offensive defenseman, scoring 14 goals and adding 28 assists last season. His best offensive season came in 2015-16 when he had 55 points. He is a two-time All-Star.