Canucks: The latest rumours on Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Arizona Coyotes defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been linked to the Vancouver Canucks. Here is the latest.

An extremely busy offseason lies ahead for Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning.

Benning could certainly use another top-four blueliner. Defence was Vancouver’s weak link in 2019-20, and workhorse Chris Tanev can hit free agency in seven days. The contracts of Jordie Benn and Alexander Edler are up after next season, too.

Well, the Vancouver GM is reportedly trying to make a move for Arizona Coyotes captain and defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, whose name has popped up aplenty in the rumour mill over the past week.

On Wednesday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported in his 31 Thoughts column that he believes “Arizona and Vancouver had an Oliver Ekman-Larsson conversation.”

The Ekman-Larsson to Vancouver trade speculation has quickly picked up from there.

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TSN’s Darren Dreger reported on Thursday that Ekman-Larsson would also welcome a trade to Vancouver:

Later on in the afternoon, Dreger reported that the Coyotes are “working with” the Canucks and Bruins on a possible trade, and that they “may have to take a contract(s) back.”

Appearing on TSN 1040 Friday morning, Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic added that in order for the Canucks to take on Ekman-Larsson’s contract, Arizona would have to eat some of the money. Ekman-Larsson is signed for seven more seasons, with a hefty cap hit of $8.25 million, per CapFriendly.

TSN 1040’s Rick Dhaliwal reported that the Canucks are definitely interested in Ekman-Larsson, but he’s not sure how they’ll be able to make it work.

Dhaliwal noted the fact that Vancouver and Boston both lack a first-round selection in this year’s draft, and it remains to be seen if that could be a sticking point in trade negotiations. Dhaliwal explained that the Coyotes are interested in defenceman prospect Olli Juolevi, the No. 5 selection from the 2016 draft.

However, Dhaliwal doesn’t think an Ekman-Larsson trade is “imminent.”

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At any rate, the Ekman-Larsson trade watch will be something to keep an eye on leading up to the draft and free agency. The Canucks have to upgrade their blue line in some way, and if they can get the 29-year-old at the right price, Benning is obviously going to go for it.