Report: Ekman-Larsson, No. 9 Pick Involved in Blockbuster Canucks, Coyotes Trade

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJuly 23, 2021

SAN JOSE, CA - May 8: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) talks to teammates during the San Jose Sharks game versus the Arizona Coyotes on May 8, 2021, at SAP Center at San Jose in San Jose, CA. (Photo by Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The fireworks are reportedly starting before Friday's 2021 NHL draft.

According to David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period, the Vancouver Canucks acquired defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and right wing Conor Garland in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes.

Pierre LeBrun of TSN noted the Coyotes will get the No. 9 overall pick this year in addition to left wings Loui Eriksson and Antoine Roussel as well as center Jay Beagle.

NHL reporter Elliotte Friedman added more context:

Elliotte Friedman @FriedgeHNIC

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

Ekman-Larsson immediately stands out in the deal as a two-time All-Star who can help anchor Vancouver's blue line.

The 30-year-old tallied 24 points in 46 games during the shortened 2020-21 campaign and isn't far removed from a stretch that saw him post 42 or more points five times in a six-season span from 2013-14 through 2018-19.

The 6'2", 200-pound Swede can get involved on the offensive side or the power play while being solid defensively.

Ekman-Larsson will be joined by Garland on the Canucks after they spent the last three seasons together in Arizona. Garland is just 25 years old and posted a career-best 39 points in just 49 games during the 2020-21 season.

The forward appeared to turn the corner as a playmaker and figures to be a key part of Vancouver's attack in 2021-22.

He also seemed to express frustration after the deal when he told reporters, "Everybody knows what's gone on here. We haven't heard anything from the team since maybe three days after the season ended when they asked for our offer. It's been a while waiting for that. You just want to go where you're wanted."

The Canucks gave up plenty to acquire the two impact players, including a top-10 pick. However, they've only advanced out of the first round once since their run to the Western Conference Final in 2012 and are trying to bounce back from their 24-26-6 record during the past season. 

From Arizona's perspective, the top-10 pick could help facilitate a long-range turnaround for a club that has made the playoffs just once in the last nine campaigns.

It also got some veteran leadership with Eriksson (36 years old), Roussel (31) and Beagle (35) to perhaps stabilize the team in the short term as it looks to compete.