One thing is clear for the Arizona Coyotes: general manager John Chayka insists there no chance he’ll trade defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who’s eligible in 2019 to become an unrestricted free agent.
“Nope. None. Zero,” he said of his chances of trading Ekman-Larsson. “For us, it’s pretty simple. Oliver has invested a lot into this team, continues to want to make it work. He’s one of the top defensemen in the league and, I guess, is expecting to be paid that way and that’s fine with me.”
But while Coyotes management hope to re-sign Ekman-Larsson, his agent hints his client will want to see results that things are going in the right direction in an interview with Craig Custance of The Athletic. Now, is the star defenseman giving his team an ultimatum or else he will ask to be traded, or worst, test the free agency market?
“There’s a lot going on. It’s a tough organization, they’ve had ownership change a number of times now,” his agent, Kevin Epp, told The Athletic. “Oliver does see the vision but still, at some point, you have to see the results. You have to see things going in the right direction.”
The Coyotes can indeed afford to re-sign the blueliner, but Custance feels management’s vision for the future, arena issues and the ability to win the Cup are boxes Ekman-Larsson still needs checked in Arizona. And it might not happen in time to secure OEL in the roster.
“I think Oliver needs more to happen with ownership and management in Phoenix than has happened,” his agent added.