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Should the Arizona Coyotes trade Oliver Ekman-Larsson?

Today we take an in-depth look at a move that could affect the Coyotes franchise.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Arizona Coyotes
Can he actually defense Sidney Crosby?
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With another frustrating season by the Arizona Coyotes, there has been some discussion about being aggressive on the offseason trade market. While much of that discussion has centered (pun intended) around players like Matt Duchene and Derek Stepan, Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s name has circulated in recent days as has only put up a measly 34 points as a defenseman compared to 55 points last year or 43 the year before.

So, should the Coyotes explore trading Oliver Ekman-Larsson?



But he’s been...


In all seriousness, trading Oliver Ekman-Larsson will continue to be a horrible idea. Yes, he is having one of his worst seasons, but his 5v5 CF% is below team average by a measly 0.2 percentage points. Last year, he was 4.6 percentage points better than the rest of the team. His goals per 60 even-strength minutes rate is two percentage points better than the rest of the Coyotes too.

Basically, OEL’s biggest sin is that he has only been slightly better than the rest of the defensive corps as opposed to substantially better. That’s an aberration, not a trend.

Remember, he’s a 25 year old defenseman on a bad team. This is when typical defenseman start to come into the league. Give the guy a break.

But we could have have had-

We’ve been down this road before, back before last summer’s Draft. It’s not enough to want to trade somebody, even somebody like Oliver Ekman-Larsson. You have to make sure the return is better than what you’re giving up. The whole reason OEL-to-Toronto was even plausible was that Matthews was the kind of caliber of player that a defenseman of OEL’s caliber should demand. Unless you’re Marc Bergevin, NHL GMs just don’t do that.

At any rate, the Coyotes are poised to be one of the most exciting and dangerous teams in a few years. With the likes of Kyle Wood, Jakob Chychrun, Anthony DeAngelo, Cam Dineen and Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the backend, they will be dangerous.

The forward core of Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Christian Dvorak, Clayton Keller, Dylan Strome, Tobias Rieder, Jordan Martinook, Lawson Crouse, Brendan Perlini and Christian Fischer are all on their way to being life long NHL players, and they are all under the age of 25.

Trading OEL should only be a legitimate option if he’s made it clear he does not intend on staying beyond his current contract, and he’s a pending UFA. Until then however, he’s not going anywhere.