NHL Rumor Mill – November 21, 2020

by | Nov 21, 2020 | Rumors | 18 comments

The latest on Oliver Ekman-Larsson and an update on the Capitals in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Jose M. Romero reports Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson has returned to Arizona and hopes to join a group of his teammates on Monday working out at Gila River Arena. He maintains he’s “really glad” he’s a Coyote, which is why he signed his eight-year contract with the club. However, the 29-year-old defenseman acknowledged it’s been a difficult offseason after he was part of trade talks between the Coyotes and the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks.

Arizona Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson (NHL Images).

Ekman-Larsson has a full no-movement clause but only agreed to waive it for the Bruins and Canucks. The Coyotes’ efforts to trade him fell through when a deal couldn’t be reached with either club before his self-imposed deadline on Oct. 9.

The long-time Coyotes blueliner said he understood this was a business decision. He denied any suggestion of tension with new general manager Bill Armstrong and doesn’t expect any strain going forward with their relationship.

AZCOYOTESINSIDER: Craig Morgan reports Ekman-Larsson explained why he choose Boston and Vancouver. He said the Bruins had an interest in him before he signed his current contract. He also spent a lot of time in Boston when he played in Portland, Maine during the 2012-13 lockout. His Swedish friends enjoyed playing and living in Vancouver plus his agent lives there. He also believes the Canucks have a promising young team.

Asked if he envisioned the Coyotes approaching him again about a trade, Ekman-Larsson left that up to Armstrong. He maintains he’s happy in Arizona but would deal with that issue if it came up again. He repeated he has no issue with what recently went down but expects at some point he’ll sit down with management and talk it through. Ekman-Larsson defended Armstrong, pointing out he arrived at a tough time for the club and had a job to do.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A deal couldn’t be reached sending Ekman-Larsson to Boston or Vancouver because Armstrong understandably set a high asking price. It’s also believed the Coyotes weren’t willing to absorb part of the blueliner’s $8.25 million annual salary-cap hit. Perhaps the Bruins or Canucks would’ve taken on his full cap hit during a normal offseason, especially if the salary cap rose to between $84 million and $88 million as projected before the pandemic.

Ekman-Larsson’s name could resurface in the rumor mill if the Coyotes struggle during the coming season or if ownership wants to shed more salary. However, his no-movement clause will continue to give him full control over the situation. His annual average value through 2026-27 will also make him very difficult to move, especially if the Coyotes remain reluctant to pick up part of it to facilitate a trade.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: J.J. Regan recently examined the Capitals’ options to bring in a third-line winger. He expects Daniel Sprong is the strongest candidate if they look to promote from within.

If the Capitals look to external options, their limited cap space (less than $1.5 million) means they could afford two players at barely over the league’s minimum salary. If they can free up some cap room, free agents such as Conor Sheary, Andreas Athanasiou and Melker Karlsson could be realistic possibilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regan believes the Capitals could move a defenseman, such as Nick Jensen, to a club with salary-cap space (such as Detroit or New Jersey) to free up room to add via free agency. The Wings need blueline depth but they could also squeeze the Capitals to include a sweetener.


  1. I doubt that the Caps will be able to move Jensen without including a nice sweetener. His hockey ability is pretty much limited to his skating – there is little else to his game. He is not physical, isn’t very good with the puck, and is not a scorer. $2.5 M per season for 3 more years is way to much for someone who is really a 6th or 7th D’man.

  2. Moving Jensen would probably depend on what you’re sending back. If you swap a guy making 1-1.5 mil for him and his 2.5? Would just be a matter of need I guess. Also teams looking for players to expose in ex draft.
    Wonder if Boston was close at all to dealing foe OEL and did that figure at all into letting Krug walk. Was kind of a weird situation with only 2 teams he would go to and the deadline he imposed. Still don’t know when season is starting and he sounds like he isn’t totally ruling out a move.

  3. Cant really see how the No Bucks Canucks are going to add an 8 million dollar d-man. No way they move one of their younger players and the rest of the roster (Eriksson, Sutter, Beagle, Roussel) is pretty much untradeable trash. I would doubt the Coyotes want a toxic contract in return for OEL, otherwise they’d just keep him.

  4. Beginning to wonder if there will be a 2020-21 season reading many articles most players who were in the bubble do not want to go back into it …it had emotional & physical effect on them there’s definitely going to be pushback from the players

    • There won’t be a bubble this time which brings up different concerns for players. They would have regional divisions, including an all-Canadian division, and only play within their division. I imagine there might be some players “opt out” for fear of COVID (high risk health issues for players or their families).

      It will definitely be challenging. And this time, there will be confirmed cases during the season, like we see with the NFL.

      • I think you nailed it regarding the emotional toll of the bubble and that there will be cases in the NHL in the upcoming season.

        If they allow fans in the stands in the US but no fans in Canada then the games will all happen in the US. The Canadian based teams will have to find an American city to adopt them for 2021

      • 2.0, no way the Canadian teams play in a US market, zero chance. This isn’t the MLB or NBA where there is one Canadian with little to no say in things. This league is built on the back of Canada.

        Most likely there will be an all Canadian division and if there is some US markets that allow fans, then so be it. But I think your dreaming if you believe all the US markets will allow fans. A state like Florida is run much differently than California.

      • Was built mr king. Was.

      • Touche Chris, thanks for the correction.

      • follow the money. don’t get distracted by the emotion of Canadian pride… if the US allows it and Canada restricts inter-provincial travel and with no fans its a no-brainer for the league

      • No distraction here my friend.

        That’s a lot of ifs. Occums razor says they will create an all Canadian division, not rip away 7 Canadian teams to find 7 new arenas.

        Not happening in my opinion, we shall see.

      • Occam’s razor that should read.

      • The border is closed to the US, Covid is nearly as bad in Canada as the US, BC wants to close borders to interprovincial travel, The US has allowed other professional leagues to continue through the crisis. Occam‘s razor says that the NHL will play in the US

      • Playing in the US would be much simpler than creating a new division and hoping that the pandemic is over for the playoffs, and hoping that provincial governments don’t change the rules, and hoping that fans will be permitted to Arena’s. Wouldn’t it be much easier to play in the US?

  5. The best moves for the Bruins could be trading DeBrusk in a package for a LD …signing another winger for less than what DeBrusk wants per year & say no to Chara …..a decent offseason for Bruins a LD,Craig Smith & Anthony Duclair

    • Don’t worry OEL will eventually end up in Bruins uniform you can take that to the bank!

  6. Didn’t Jensen come from Detroit ?
    I hope Sprong sticks. Highly touted kid that has yet to translate. Still young. Needs right place right coach right time

    To start east US west US and a Canadian division. No fans and review bi-weekly. I would think there has be a cross over at some point. Regardless NHL will be close to what the NBA does. Raptors are playing in Florida somewhere

  7. Hey! Wasn’t it Debrusk’s turn today? Yesterday was Hoffman, so today must be DeBrusk’s turn.