Canucks: Latest on Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jake Virtanen and Tyler Motte

Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Vancouver Canucks are still trying to work on a trade for Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Here’s the latest on him, Jake Virtanen and Tyler Motte.

Barring any big trades by general manager Jim Benning, the 2020 NHL Draft won’t be all that eventful for the Vancouver Canucks.

After picking in the top 10 in each of the last four years — the Canucks figure to be relatively quiet at this year’s draft. Their 2020 first-round pick (20th overall) went to the Tampa Bay Lightning as part of the mutually beneficial J.T. Miller trade, although the Bolts later flipped that pick to the New Jersey Devils for Blake Coleman.

The Canucks’ 2020 second-rounder belongs to the Los Angeles Kings via the Tyler Toffoli trade. This move also panned out nicely for Benning and company, as Toffoli (like Miller) brought a veteran presence that helped the team end a five-year playoff drought.

Even if the 2020 Draft isn’t all that exciting for Canucks fans, there is still no shortage of intriguing rumours and developments to follow in the coming days.

Clock is ticking on an Oliver Ekman-Larsson trade

The Canucks and Boston Bruins have been heavily linked to Arizona Coyotes captain and defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in trade rumours. So where do all the parties stand with free agency just three days away?

As it turns out, the Canucks and Bruins are running out of time to orchestrate a trade for the 29-year-old. His agent, Kevin Epp, has given both clubs a short window to make something happen.

“We think the best option for a trade is before free agency,” Epp said to TSN, per Darren Dreger. “If no deal by Friday, Oliver is staying in Arizona.”

Per CapFriendly, Ekman-Larsson is signed for seven more season with a hefty $8.25 million cap hit each year. Both Vancouver and Boston lack a 2020 first-round pick, and they’ll need Arizona to eat up some of Ekman-Larsson’s contract and/or take on an expensive contract to make a deal work.

That’s easier said than done. The bottom line is that the two clubs have three days to swing a deal for Ekman-Larsson. The clock is running.

Jake Virtanen and Tyler Motte

Both Jake Virtanen and Tyler Motte are coming off strong seasons with the Canucks. The former set career bests across the board in 2019-20: 18 goals, 18 assists and 36 points. He’s a pending RFA with arbitration rights.

Unsurprisingly, Epp (Virtanen’s agent) made it clear on TSN 1040 that the 24-year-old prefers to remain in Vancouver, per Rick Dhaliwal:

Dhaliwal also reported Tuesday morning that Motte, a pending UFA, will receive a qualifying offer tomorrow. Dhaliwal added the Canucks and the 25-year-old forward “will continue to work towards a new deal to avoid arbitration.

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Motte had four goals and four assists in 34 regular season games. He was even more valuable for the Canucks in the playoffs, recording four goals and one assist in 17 games.