Oliver Ekman-Larsson says that he still enjoys living in Arizona and did not want to leave the Coyotes following offseason trade rumors.
In an interview with Ronnie Rönnkvist of Swedish website Hockeysverige.se, the Coyotes captain explained that despite his full no-movement clause, he chose the Bruins and Canucks as two teams he’d allowed a trade to if a deal could be worked out before an Oct. 9 deadline.
“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,” the 29-year-old defenseman said. “That’s the person I am. I put those teams there as alternatives, but I never really wanted to move.”
Ekman-Larsson signed an eight-year, $66M extension in July 2018 after months of rumors about his future with the Coyotes. With the franchise dealing with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, his name popped up again in the rumor mill this offseason.
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“I signed because I wanted to be in Arizona until I’m 36,” he said. “When this rumor appeared, it felt awkward and it was a tough situation. I had never been in a situation like this before with trade rumors. Mentally, it was tough.”
Despite the near-move, Ekman-Larsson is confident about next season and believes the Coyotes can build off a season where they advanced to the First Round after knocking out the Predators in the Qualifying Round.
“There were a lot of rumors that the team would sell and get rid of players to save money,” Ekman-Larsson said. “But it never really happened, and I actually think that we have a very good team on paper. We’re a really tight-knit group and I really appreciate that. We made it to the playoffs this year and I really hope we can make it further next year.”