It's been quite an offseason for the Arizona Coyotes. Between former GM John Chayka leaving the team, to losing top free agent Taylor Hall, to drafting a teenager convicted of a racial assault... let's just say it hasn't been a very "PR friendly" offseason for the 'Yotes.
Oh... and of course their captain demanded a trade out of town. Or did he?
Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson had reportedly demanded a trade to either the Vancouver Canucks or the Boston Bruins but rookie Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong wasn't able to make a deal happen. Now, Ekman-Larsson is committed to returning as the Coyotes' captain for at least next season. Now, an interesting report from Swedish reporter Uffe Bodin seems to indicate that Ekman-Larsson never demanded a trade and had no intention of ever leaving Arizona.
Check it out:
On dealing with the rumors:
"I signed because I wanted to be in Arizona until I'm 36. When this rumor appeared, it felt awkward and it was a tough situation. I had never been a situation like this before with trade rumors. Mentally, it was tough."
On his choices of Boston and Vancouver:
"I have a no trade/movement clause in my contract. I picked those teams because I didn't want to stand in the way of the team in case they felt like they needed to move me. That's the person I am. I put those teams there as alternatives, but I never really wanted to move. I never really wanted to do anything but to stay in Arizona. I'm really happy that it ended this way. I really like to live there and it would have been very hard for me to leave."
Imagine the awkward scene with OEL walks into training camp (whenever that is) for this upcoming season. He's this team's leader and he was almost traded this offseason. Hopefully, as the leader he stands up and sets the record straight in the locker room. The Coyotes franchise has been plagued with instability seemingly since the day they moved from Winnipeg and OEL's situation with the team certainly won't help matters. If he's a good leader he'll clear the air and let everyone know where he and the organization stand.