Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Bruins might be interested in Oliver Ekman-Larsson!
This trade rumor seems to surface at least once a year, and seemingly has for about 5 years now, but who knows? Maybe this is the year.
Per Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts, the Bruins are among a handful of teams who “have checked in on” the Swedish defenseman (Edmonton and Calgary were the other teams mentioned, though he also added there were likely more).
As you may or may not be aware, the Arizona Coyotes are going through a bit of a rough patch. They went big for Taylor Hall, only to flame out early in the playoffs.
Their ownership seems to be in a constant state of flux, their GM quit this summer, they were penalized by the league for draft violations, and there are reports that they’ve determined they need to cut their payroll...yeah. Good times.
With a new GM in the mix and the cupboard looking pretty bare, it makes sense that the Coyotes may be looking to deal.
But would Ekman-Larsson make sense for the Bruins?
The 29-year-old blueliner is a left shot. He’s a smooth skater with decent offensive instincts. Obviously, the first thought would be that he’d serve as a replacement for Torey Krug.
However, the Arizona captain also comes with a pretty hefty salary.
His AAV is $8.25 million, a mark that would be the highest on the current Bruins roster. He’s also signed through 2027, a year that seems like it’s completely made up.
To make matters less palatable, he also has a no-movement clause for the life of the contract.
Put that all together and...probably not. While Ekman-Larsson may be a good replacement for Krug, he’d come saddled with a ton of baggage.
That contract is a monster, but it’s the term and the NMC that would make any move for him even more difficult. Given the AAV, the Bruins would certainly have to send money out to bring Ekman-Larsson and still have room to get their free agents in order.
Given Arizona’s money situation, it’s extremely unlikely that they’d be willing to take anything back other than picks and prospects, so a move with another team would be likely.
When looked at as a total package, an Ekman-Larsson trade wouldn’t make much sense for the Bruins.
He’d likely make the team better in the near future, but could put them in a serious cap crunch during the twilight of his career.