In the last few days, the Bruins have gone from Krug leaving in free agency to being front runners to land OEL. This tweet from Elliotte Friedman has the Bruins and Canucks as the two teams Oliver Ekman-Larsson would waive his no-move clause for. With a full no-movement clause in his contract, OEL can choose which team he will accept a trade to. While the Bruins and Canucks might be the only teams on that shortlist that could change if neither can offer what Arizona wants. However, Arizona is desperate to shed salary so they might not be able to get fair value for their captain. So what would it take to get an OEL trade done and what would he bring to the Bruins?
At one point the Oilers were a possible trade partner for an Oliver Ekman-Larsson deal. This was short-lived as OEL said he wouldn’t waive his no-move to go to Edmonton. Some information did come out of the short-lived rumors and that was Arizona’s asking price. According to a tweet from Darren Dreger Arizona was asking for a first-round pick and one of the Oilers young developing defensemen. For a top-pairing defenseman, a first-round pick and an up and coming player sound like a steal. That asking price shows just how desperate the Coyotes are to shed salary.
So with the asking price identified what would it take to get Oliver Ekman-Larsson to Boston? First without our 2020 first-round pick that means our 2021 first would be included. Next, the young developing defenseman would likely be Urho Vaakanainen. The 18th overall pick in the 2017 draft projects to be a solid top-four two-way defenseman. With the pick not coming till next year and Urho still unproven at the NHL level, the Bruins would have to sweeten to deal. The sweeteners could include a second-tier offensive prospect like Oskar Steen. The Bruins could also include a proven roster defenseman like Clifton, Lauzon, or Moore. The Bruins should ask Arizona to retain some salary maybe 1.5 million to get OEL’s cap hit under 7 million.
What Oliver Ekman-Larsson Brings To Boston
Oliver Ekman-Larsson was the 6th overall pick back in the 2009 draft. He made his NHL debut during the 2010-11 season playing in 48 games. In every season since he has played at least 22 minutes a game. Also since his rookie season, OEL has finished no worse than 8th on the team in points. He even had a stretch from 2014-15 through 2018-19 when he finished no worse than 4th and led the team in points twice. In seven of his ten seasons, he has scored at least 12 goals including two 20 goal seasons. OEL has also scored over 40 points five times in his career. While that might not seem like elite production four of those seasons he was top 4 on Arizona in points leading the team twice. Considering the lack of offensive talent around him even hitting 40 points is impressive.
Ekman-Larsson has also finished top 10 in Norris voting twice during his career. Finally, the gifted two-way defender has some size at 6’2” and 200lbs. He also doesn’t shy away from using that size topping 110 hits eight times in his career. The two seasons he failed to hit those numbers he only played in 48 games. Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been a top-pairing defenseman for almost his entire career. Unfortunately, for him, Arizona failed to surround him with other talented players leaving him to carry the load offensively and defensively. While his numbers have slipped in recent years a move to a contending team where he’s not carrying the entire team should allow him to play his game once again.
With Krug likely leaving in free agency Oliver Ekman-Larsson would be a perfect replacement. With more size a better defensive game and impressive offensive talent, he could be exactly what the Bruins are looking for. He could even play on the top pair with McAvoy giving Chara a reduced role if he returns for another year. While losing our 2021 first-round pick, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, and one of Clifton, Lauzon, or Moore seem like a lot, for a top-pairing defenseman it’s about as good as it’s going to get.
If the Bruins want to get this deal done the sooner the better. It would probably need to be done before the draft. Teams seem to always make deals at the draft and another contender for OEL could come out of nowhere. What do you think of this trade package for Oliver Ekman-Larsson? If you have other ideas who would you trade in a realistic deal? As always until next time stay safe out there and LET’S GO BRUINS!!
Featured image courtesy of Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports.