This trade is a big one.
The Vancouver Canucks have acquired defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Conor Garland from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle, Loui Eriksson and the ninth overall pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Arizona will be retaining 12 percent of Larsson’s contract.
The deal has massive salary cap implications for both sides. There’s at least $63.5 million in real cash changing hands, per Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli.
The blockbuster trade was first reported by Arizona Sports Radio host John Gambadoro:
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the full details:
Okay…OEL and Garland for Beagle, Eriksson, Roussel a 1st tonight, a 2nd (next year) and a 7th. ARIZ retains 12 per cent of OEL salary
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 23, 2021
Ekman-Larsson has spent his entire NHL career with the Coyotes after being selected sixth overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The Swedish defender has 128 goals and 260 assists in 769 games during his Arizona career. The 30-year-old was named team captain in September 2018.
Garland, meanwhile, scored 47 goals in 164 games during three seasons with the Coyotes. The 25-year-old will be a restricted free agent this offseason. Garland ripped into his former team on the way out.
“Everybody knows what’s gone on here”, said Garland. “We haven’t heard anything from the team since maybe three days after the season ended when they asked for our offer. It’s been a while waiting for that. You just want to go where you’re wanted.”
The big haul for Arizona in this trade is the ninth overall pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. According to multiple reports, the Coyotes are big on Michigan Wolverines center Kent Johnson and hope to draft him ninth overall.
The Canucks appear to win this trade — at least in the short term. Ekman-Larsson is a very steady presence on the blueline and gives the Canucks another dynamic defender alongside Quinn Hughes. Ekman-Larsson’s best years are behind him, but he still put up 55 points over the last two seasons. He also averages around 23 minutes of ice time per game, so with veteran Alex Edler testing free agency, OEL makes for a great potential replacement. Garland, meanwhile, is an underrated goal scorer who could thrive on a more talented offensive team. He’s reportedly very excited to play in Vancouver and is open to both a long term or short term contract extension.
The problem for the Canucks is that they still have to sign Hughes and Elias Pettersson to contracts this offseason. Brock Boeser becomes a free agent next offseason and will be looking for a raise, while Bo Horvat and JT Miller Miller are UFAs in two years. Although Arizona is retaining some of Ekman-Larsson’s salary, he still carries an $8.5M cap hit for the next six years. The Canucks are going to be in tough to pay their core with Larsson’s long-term contract.
The Coyotes don’t get any significant roster players in this deal, but the ninth overall pick is huge. Arizona will be getting a cornerstone piece for their future. The Coyotes are clearly in a rebuilding phase after missing the playoffs for the eighth time in nine years in 2020-21. They’ll be building their team around youngsters Christian Dvorak, Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz and Jakub Chukryn.
The problem for Arizona is they lose their captain and a top goalscorer without getting immediate help in return. Beagle, Rousell and Eriksson are all depth pieces who didn’t play important roles for the Canucks. Eriksson has failed to live up to the six-year, $36M contract he signed with the Canucks, while Rousell has had issues staying healthy over the past two seasons. Beagle has been on the decline after playing an important role for the Washington Capitals during their 2018 Stanley Cup run.