The Vancouver Canucks have acquired defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Conor Garland from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for forwards Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle, Loui Eriksson, a 2021 first round pick (9th overall), a 2022 2nd round pick, and a 2023 7th round pick. Arizona retained 12%, or $990k of Ekman-Larsson’s salary.
This is a big, big trade. The Coyotes have to part with a young forward who was quickly rising to the status of their best player. They also lose their captain, although that is less of a loss. While he can still be effective, Ekman-Larsson is no longer a top-pairing defenseman. He has six years left at $8.25 million per season. For Vancouver, it will be a $7.26 million cap hit. That is a contract that will very likely age poorly. If Ekman-Larsson has already started his regression, then there is no telling how bad he can get with the Vancouver, a team that is not a sound defensively structured team. The Canucks are able to save about $4.75 million in cap space for this upcoming season. However, they will have to use about all of it on Garland. The 2015 5th round pick became a nice find for Arizona, but he is an RFA now. He will be able to pot goals playing on the Canucks’ second-line. The cost is very high. They traded the ninth overall pick! Plus, an extra second. There is a really good chance that the Canucks will regret this quickly, even if Garland gets better.
Ekman-Larsson, 30, scored three goals with 21 assists for 24 points in 46 games for the Coyotes in 2020-21. In his NHL career, all for Arizona, Ekman-Larsson has scored 128 goals with 260 assists for 388 points in 769 games.
Garland, 25, scored 12 goals with 27 assists for 39 points in 49 games for the Coyotes this year. In his NHL career, all in Arizona, Garland has scored 47 goals with 49 assists for 96 points in 164 games.
The main theme of this trade is cap space, which is a shame since Garland is a pretty good player. But the Canucks are fine in that regards for this year. After that? Not so much. The Coyotes saw this and took a good bet. They get the ninth overall pick, who they immediately used to select forward Dylan Guenther, and a second-round pick next year, which adds to their collection of FIVE for 2022. The contracts they take on are for expansion fourth liners, but they all have one year left. Loui Eriksson has a $6 million cap hit but can be buried to save some of that. Beagle and Roussel are at $3 million each. Both can still play a fourth line role for the Coyotes. To clear up Ekman-Larsson’s contract for the five years after that, and get a very high overall pick is an amazing bet for Arizona.
Beagle, 35, scored one goal with four assists for five points in 30 games for the Canucks in 2020-21. In his NHL career for the Canucks and Washington Capitals, Beagle has scored 57 goals with 82 assists for 142 points in 613 games.
Roussel, 31, scored one goal with three assists for four points in 31 games for the Canucks earlier this year. In his NHL career for the Canucks and Dallas Stars, Roussel has scored 81 goals with 108 assists for 189 points in 554 games.
Eriksson, 36, had one assist in seven games for Vancouver in 2020-21. In his NHL career for the Canucks, Stars, and Boston Bruins, he has scored 250 goals with 344 assists for 594 points in 977 games.