The offseason for the Boston Bruins could have looked much differently if they had pulled off a trade for Arizona Coyotes No. 1 defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Instead the Bruins and Coyotes never came to an agreement on a trade package that would have included top young B’s assets along with necessary salary cap clearance, so a Bruins team that was linked early in the offseason to Ekman-Larsson and Taylor Hall hasn’t come away with any superstar player hauls to this point.
For the first time the Coyotes D-man has confirmed to the Swedish media that the Bruins were indeed one of his only two preferred NHL destinations.
Ekman-Larsson has a full no-movement clause and is signed with the Coyotes through the 2026-27 season, but agreed to go to either the Bruins or the Vancouver Canucks if Arizona could work out a sufficient trade package with either one of them. Ekman Larsson reportedly put the Oct. 9 start of NHL free agency as the deadline for him agreeing to any such deal, and nothing was ever finalized with either Boston or Vancouver.
It sounds just as well now from a Bruins perspective as Ekman Larsson addressed the trade stuff this week, and said he had zero desire to leave Arizona in the first place.
“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 in a situation like that with trade rumors. Mentally, it was tough,” said Ekman-Larsson in an interview with the Swedish outlet Hockey Sverige that was subsequently translated into English. “I have a no-trade/no 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 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.”
Instead of landing Ekman-Larsson and taking on his $8.25 million cap hit for the foreseeable future, the Bruins lost Torey Krug in free agency to the St. Louis Blues and have since opted to go the “circle of life” route with a young defensemen corps for next season. The 29-year-old had nine goals and 30 points while topping 23 minutes of ice time in 66 games last season and would have been an established top pair partner with Charlie McAvoy along with a strong PP replacement for Krug.
Instead the Boston Bruins re-signed Matt Grzelcyk to a four-year deal with all signs point toward him getting top pair minutes and premium PP opportunities, so time will tell exactly how that’s going to pan out for the Black and Gold.