According to Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman, both the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames have looked into the availability of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
Friedman noted on SN960 that both Alberta teams have inquired regarding the Ekman-Larsson situation in Arizona as both teams know him well, the Oilers specifically as head coach Dave Tippett spent many years behind the bench for the Coyotes working first hand with the blueliner.
Friedman does add that other teams have shown interest as well but there are plenty of reasons to believe both the Oilers and Flames could make appealing offers if Ekman-Larsson was willing to waive his no-move for either franchise.
The Flames Need to Overhaul Their Blue Line
Calgary has a number of free agents up for extension and many of them aren’t likely to stay. Only Mark Giordano, Rasmus Andersson, and Noah Hanafin are committed to long-term deals, while players like Travis Hamonic, Derek Forbort, Michael Stone, Erik Gustafsson, and TJ Brodie could all wind up in new homes.
If the Flames decided to put their eggs in the Ekman-Larsson basket, they’d have the cap space and spots available on their roster to make it work. There’s also the small matter of rumors surrounding Johnny Gaudreau and whether or not he’ll stay in Calgary. The deal becomes a lot easier to make work if those are the central pieces.
The Oilers Need a No. 1 D-Man
Meanwhile, in Edmonton, the Oilers aren’t looking to overhaul their blue line, but it does need to get better. The team has hoped for years that someone would step into the No. 1 role and while Oscar Klefbom might be close, he’s arguably not a top-two guy. Ekman-Larsson certainly is.
Not to mention, there’s a history between Adam Larsson and Ekman-Larsson playing for team Sweden that the Oilers might find to be an appealing experiment. If Klefbom was the central piece moved out to make room for the Coyotes captain, the Oilers would need to do something else to clear up additional space. Could Arizona be convinced to retain some cap space? Possibly, but not much.
The alternative would be to move someone like Darnell Nurse whose contract just jumped up to a number close to $1.5 million per season more than Klefbom.
None of This Is Easy
Any trade involving the Arizona defenseman is tricky, but it’s far less tricky for the Flames who have a lot more flexibility to make a bigger move than the Oilers do.
The question becomes, how badly do the Coyotes need to move OEL, how willing is he to leave, and what are the Oilers and Flames willing to give up to make it work if the first two items on the list are tackled?
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