The Coyotes under general manager Bill Armstrong clearly are in rebuilding mode now, having previously stockpiled a number of second-round picks over the next two drafts while taking on the contracts of Andrew Ladd and Shayne Gostisbehere.
Now, the team has gone even further by agreeing to a huge trade with the Vancouver Canucks that sees captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson (12% retained) and the rights to restricted free agent Connor Garland move north of the border.
Okay...OEL and Garland for Beagle, Eriksson, Roussel a 1st tonight, a 2nd (next year) and a 7th. ARIZ retains 12 per cent of OEL salary— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 23, 2021
In return for two key pieces to the team’s roster, the Coyotes take on a slew of players on expiring deals in Jay Beagle, Louis Eriksson, and Antoine Roussel while also landing the ninth overall pick in tonight’s draft.
The deal sees the Coyotes unload the majority of Ekman-Larsson’s six-year contract onto the Canucks, while also losing a player on the rise in Garland.
In return, Armstrong has acquired three veteran forwards with a combined cap hit of $12 million, which will be off the books after the 2021/22 season concludes.
Beagle, Eriksson, and Roussel will all play significant roles for the Coyotes this season and have effectively allowed the team to walk away from the long-term commitment tied to their former captain.
In addition, the Coyotes also managed to obtain a top-ten pick this year as well as a FIFTH second-round pick in the 2022 Draft, and a seventh-rounder in 2023 for good measure.
This allows the team to select four players in the first two rounds of this year’s draft and six in next year’s first two rounds. Armstrong will be looking to fill the bare prospect pool he has inherited and start building for the future alongside head coach André Tourigny, who is known for his excellent handling of younger players.
Seeing Ekman-Larsson leave will be a sad sight for many Coyotes fans, and losing Garland after he burst onto the NHL scene over the past two seasons will be disappointing. Still, the deal puts the team in a solid position to build a well-rounded team through the draft and take a different approach moving forward.
This is now the third blockbuster trade the Coyotes have been involved in this off-season, and plenty more moves could be on the horizon as Armstrong looks to make his mark on the team after spending the 2021 season assessing.