According to the latest NHL Rumors, the Arizona Coyotes are close to signing defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year deal
The Arizona Coyotes are coming off a roller coaster season. After one of the worst starts in NHL history, the team did fairly well down the stretch. The Coyotes picked up 24 points after March 1, tied for ninth in the league during that span. According to the latest NHL rumors, they’re close to getting a long-term extension done with franchise defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
OEL is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2018-19 season. However, Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan is reporting the Coyotes are discussing an eight-year extension with him.
The Coyotes are discussing an eight-year contract extension with defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson that would carry an average annual value (AAV) slightly above $8 million.
It’s important to note nothing can be signed until after July 1. However, the Coyotes appear to be willing to sign their franchise defenseman, no matter what it takes. Should OEL sign an extension at over $8 million per year, it would give him the second-highest cap hit among defensemen, trailing solely Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban. Soon-to-be free agent John Carlson could get over $8 million annually as well.
This would assist the long overdue market correction needed for defensemen. Of the top 20 highest annual cap hits, the only two defensemen are Subban and Victor Hedman. With Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson potentially being free agents after next season, the market should set for franchise defensemen.
The Coyotes are wise to spend on Ekman-Larsson. He’s a captain candidate and has been arguably their best player over their past three seasons. During that time, OEL leads the Coyotes in points and goals. He’s also second in assists to Max Domi. This signifies Arizona is ready to spend to keep one of the best players they’ve ever had. That’s a significant step forward for the franchise.
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In Arizona, the Coyotes are attempting to secure their long-term future in the state. Signing Ekman-Larsson helps them accomplish this goal. Even after they sign him, they’ll likely have enough cap space to make another splash if they choose.
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