How an Oliver Ekman-Larsson trade with Vancouver impacts LA Kings

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

If the Vancouver Canucks acquire Oliver Ekman-Larsson, there are several implications that apply to the LA Kings.

With the Stanley Cup Finals now over, most teams are facing their salary cap issues head-on. Of those include the Arizona Coyotes, who have approximately $1.1M in cap and lost some draft capital due to their recent NHL Combine infractions. However, it appears a trade might be brewing with either Vancouver or Boston for the services of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

The 29-year-old captain of the Coyotes makes the most sense to move this offseason, given his $8.3M cap hit, and he’s under contract through the 2026-2027 season. He has no-movement clauses each year, but the 29-year-old has reportedly opened that up for the two aforementioned teams. Both the Canucks and Bruins need help along the blue line, and the latter especially if and ultimately when Torey Krug goes elsewhere.

For the Canucks, they enter the offseason with approximately $14.3M in cap space, so they can afford to take on OEL’s contract. They are without a first and second-round pick in next week’s draft, so they’ll have to get creative in making that deal work. Of course, taking on all of OEL’s contract will go a long way towards achieving what is required to get the deal done.

The Canucks acquiring OEL would leave them with approximately $6M in cap space with former LA Kings forward Tyler Toffoli being an unrestricted free agent. The two parties have expressed interest in remaining together, so they Canucks may be forced to move someone off the roster. The Brock Boeser rumors swirled earlier this offseason when a report leaked that the Canucks’ front office was reportedly willing to move him, if necessary.

Similar to the recent interest in Patrik Laine, Boeser would be an excellent addition along the Kings’ top line.

Of course, the recent reports that the Canucks might include someone like Brandon Sutter, who carries a cap hit of $4.4M to help with the cap issues. Still, Vancouver has a number of unrestricted free agents, including goalie Jacob Markstrom, so they might be forced to move more than just one person if they acquire OEL.

The Coyotes defenseman scored 9 goals with 21 assists in the COVID-19 shortened season. He’s been deadly on the man advantage, tallying a career-best 12 power play goals during the 2015-2016 season. And obviously, he would remain in the Pacific Division where he has killed the Kings.

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In a 45-game sample size, OEL has 8 goals with 11 assists for 19 points, including 6 power play goals against LA. We’ll see what transpires over the next few days or weeks and if the Kings end up getting involved in some kind of trade. It would seem favorable for the two sides to get something done before the draft so that the Coyotes could gain some draft capital back.

The LA Kings might also be able to pluck one of the other left-handed defensemen on the Coyotes’ roster, even after an OEL trade.