aPRIL 14, 2018 | 3:20PM ET
TheFourthPeriod.com

COYOTES HOPE TO HAVE CLEARER PICTURE ON OEL

 
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Oliver Ekman-Larsson, defenceman

 

Arizona Coyotes star defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s future with the organization will have a significant affect on how the club maneuvers its off-season plans.

Ekman-Larsson, 26, has one-year left on his contract, which comes with a $5.5 million salary cap hit, and cannot officially sign an extension with the Coyotes until July 1, though the clubs can discuss a new deal leading up to that date.

Several teams have inquired about Ekman-Larsson over the last year, but Coyotes GM John Chayka has remained adamant about not wanting to trade him.

However, as Craig Morgan of Arizona Sports 98.7FM reported this week, if the Coyotes do not present Ekman-Larsson with offer he deems worthy – if the team doesn’t pony up the cash – they may be forced into fielding trade offers.

“I’ve got to continue to build this team with an eye for the future,” Chayka told Arizona Sports. “We’ve got a lot of people who I have high hopes for and expectations that they can perform. We’ve got to plan for that.”

Morgan suggested that if the Coyotes and Ekman-Larsson cannot agree on an extension by the June 22-23 NHL Draft, it might be in the club’s best interest to trade him.

Ekman-Larsson’s agent, Kevin Epp, told Arizona Sports contract talks, to date, have progressed positively.
 
“I’ve had numerous conversations with John the last few months on all the players,” Epp said. “I think it’s all going to just have to take the course and path it’s going to take. Everybody feels good about the way the organization is going right now and the direction of ownership and the direction of the team and its success.”