NHL rumors: Here’s potential asking price for Oliver Ekman-Larsson trade

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Report: Asking price for Oliver Ekman-Larsson trade revealed originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston” data-reactid=”14″>Report: Asking price for Oliver Ekman-Larsson trade revealed originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Oliver Ekman-Larsson is sure to be one of the most popular names in NHL trade rumors as the 2020 draft and free agency approach.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Several teams, including the Boston Bruins, have been linked with the Arizona Coyotes defenseman in rumors over the last few weeks, but you can bet he won’t come cheap.” data-reactid=”20″>Several teams, including the Boston Bruins, have been linked with the Arizona Coyotes defenseman in rumors over the last few weeks, but you can bet he won’t come cheap.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="What will the Coyotes be looking for if they trade Ekman-Larrson? Here's what TSN's Darren Dreger laid out in the context of the Edmonton Oilers:” data-reactid=”21″>What will the Coyotes be looking for if they trade Ekman-Larrson? Here’s what TSN’s Darren Dreger laid out in the context of the Edmonton Oilers:

Let’s replace these Oilers assets with their Bruins comparables.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="First, the Bruins don't have&nbsp;a 2020 first-round draft pick. They traded it to the Anaheim Ducks in February to acquire Ondrej Kase and dump David Backes‘ contract. So, the B’s would need to move a future first-rounder if the Coyotes were adamant about acquiring one.” data-reactid=”24″>First, the Bruins don’t have a 2020 first-round draft pick. They traded it to the Anaheim Ducks in February to acquire Ondrej Kase and dump David Backes‘ contract. So, the B’s would need to move a future first-rounder if the Coyotes were adamant about acquiring one.

<h5 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Ranking top 20 NHL free agents of 2020 offseason” data-reactid=”25″>Ranking top 20 NHL free agents of 2020 offseason

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The&nbsp;most promising&nbsp;"young, developing blueliner" in Boston's system&nbsp;is Urho Vaakanainen, who was the Bruins’ first-round pick in 2017. Matt Grzelcyk and Jeremy Lauzon are lesser examples. It would be tough to give up on Vaakanainen so early, but Ekman-Larsson is a really good player.” data-reactid=”26″>The most promising “young, developing blueliner” in Boston’s system is Urho Vaakanainen, who was the Bruins’ first-round pick in 2017. Matt Grzelcyk and Jeremy Lauzon are lesser examples. It would be tough to give up on Vaakanainen so early, but Ekman-Larsson is a really good player.

The Bruins don’t have a ton of mid-tier salaries they could involve in an Ekman-Larsson trade to help offset his high salary cap hit of $8.25 million.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Charlie Coyle and Charlie McAvoy&nbsp;are the only B’s&nbsp;players with cap hits between $3 million and&nbsp;$6 million, per CapFriendly.&nbsp;It’s&nbsp;hard to imagine the B’s parting with either player. Coyle is a valuable forward and recently signed an extension, and McAvoy is the No. 1 defenseman the&nbsp;team should build around long term.&nbsp;Two other decent-sized cap hits are Ondrej Kase at $2.6 million and John Moore at $2.75 million.” data-reactid=”28″>Charlie Coyle and Charlie McAvoy are the only B’s players with cap hits between $3 million and $6 million, per CapFriendly. It’s hard to imagine the B’s parting with either player. Coyle is a valuable forward and recently signed an extension, and McAvoy is the No. 1 defenseman the team should build around long term. Two other decent-sized cap hits are Ondrej Kase at $2.6 million and John Moore at $2.75 million.

<h5 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Is pursuing Taylor Hall in free agency a smart move for Bruins?” data-reactid=”29″>Is pursuing Taylor Hall in free agency a smart move for Bruins?

What’s the case for acquiring Ekman-Larsson? The Bruins’ window to win the Stanley Cup is right now, and they might only get one or maybe two more seasons to compete for a championship with their current core. 

Therefore, it does make some sense to risk a couple future assets to acquire Ekman-Larsson for a short-term run at the Cup.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="If the Bruins lose Torey Krug in free agency, it’s unlikely they would replace him with another top-four defenseman via free agency. This year’s class of UFA defensemen is pretty weak outside the top guys available, and Boston cannot afford to overpay for a middle-tier veteran in a panic move to fill Krug’s role.” data-reactid=”32″>If the Bruins lose Torey Krug in free agency, it’s unlikely they would replace him with another top-four defenseman via free agency. This year’s class of UFA defensemen is pretty weak outside the top guys available, and Boston cannot afford to overpay for a middle-tier veteran in a panic move to fill Krug’s role.

A trade is the best way to find another top-four defenseman capable of providing consistent scoring production, strong special teams play and 20-plus minutes per game against quality competition. Ekman-Larsson brings all of those skills to the ice, in addition to his impressive leadership abilities.

<h5 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Report: B’s could trade Krug’s rights to one of these four teams” data-reactid=”34″>Report: B’s could trade Krug’s rights to one of these four teams

The case against a move for Ekman-Larsson is his salary cap hit of $8.25 million — a pretty hefty price tag — and he still has seven more seasons on his contract. The deal won’t expire until he’s 35 years old.

Giving up another first-round pick when the B’s didn’t have one in 2018 and don’t in 2020 also is not an ideal scenario for a team that could be rebuilding/retooling when the current core’s run is over.

There are pros and cons to each scenario, but if the Bruins plan on being a playoff contender over the next three or so years, a trade for Ekman-Larsson would improve their chances of winning a Stanley Cup.

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