Ekman-Larsson to be new Team Captain
June 20, 2017, 6:28 PM ET [1 Comments]
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Lost a little bit in the news of Shane Doan not being offered a contract yesterday was the news the Oliver Ekman-Larsson would be the new team captain.
OEL, 25, was selected 6th overall in 2009, and is the team's best player by a mile. Additionally, he's probably the best player to ever wear a Coyotes uniform, is among the very best three or four defensemen in the NHL, and is an excellent choice for captain.
His entire career has been played in Phoenix, and he has 88 goals and 248 assists in just under 500 career games over six seasons.
Larsson is on a one of the best value-contracts in the NHL, and he makes just $5.5 million for the next two seasons. He can be re-signed (correct me if I'm wrong here, but I'm pretty sure) after next July once there is a year or less remaining in his deal.
This presents a problem for the Coyotes because, value wise, if they have to trade him, they should do it now.
If OEL is amenable to resigning, he should be kept. However, if it is in any way in doubt, the Coyotes need to bite the bullet and move him now, as he'll be un-restricted at the end of this deal.
It may be worth exploring what he can get you since - unless the Coyotes have everything breaks perfectly for them - they likely won't be competing for a playoff spot next year.
It's a tough decision and I'm not sure there is a good answer.
Regardless, it appears unlikely that the Coyotes would make him the captain if they didn't think they could re-sign him, and are perhaps hoping a little of the Shane Doan dedication to one team thing rubs off on him.