Skip to Main Content

Ekman-Larsson signs eight-year contract extension with Coyotes

Defenseman could have become free agent after this season @NHLdotcom

Oliver Ekman-Larsson signed an eight-year contract extension with the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday.

Financial terms were not released.

The defenseman, who turns 27 on July 17, has one season remaining on a six-year contract he signed March 15, 2013. He was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.


[RELATED: NHL Free Agent Tracker]


"I'm very happy. They believe in me," Ekman-Larsson said. "They want me to stay there and it's always been in my interest to stay there and sign a new contract there. I love living in Arizona and I love playing for the Coyotes, so it was a no-brainer for me."

Tweet from @OEL23: This is home. I���ve said it before and I���ll say it again, I love everything about Arizona. The fans, the staff, and most of all my teammates made my decision easy. See you in October! @ArizonaCoyotes @NHL

Ekman-Larsson had 42 points (14 goals, 28 assists) in 82 games last season and led the Coyotes in average ice time (23:41 per game). He has played all but 12 games during the past seven seasons.

"I feel comfortable in my game," Ekman-Larsson said. "Last year was a difficult year to get back on my feet and really having fun with hockey again after my mom passed. It was a good year to just get back on my feet and have fun with it again. That was my main goal. Hockey is not everything, but it means a lot to me and it helped me. It was nice to be around teammates and the sport I love. I'm really excited for this season and just to focus on hockey."

Video: Alex Tanguay on Couture, Doughty and OEL extensions

The Coyotes finished 29-41-12, last in the Pacific Division and 25 points behind the Colorado Avalanche, who earned the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. But they played much better in the second half of the season.

"I want to improve my game, and I'm super excited about the way we finished the second half last year," Ekman-Larsson said. "I think it took a while to get used to [coach Rick Tocchet] and the system. Once everybody got going and felt comfortable in that system, we were one of the better teams in the League, so it was easier to make that decision to stay. I believe in this team and I believe in the players we've got. I think we're going to surprise some people."

The Coyotes this offseason acquired forward Alex Galchenyuk in a trade from the Montreal Canadiens (for forward Max Domi), re-signed defenseman Kevin Connauton, and on Sunday signed UFA forward Michael Grabner and gave a contract extension to defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

"[General manager John Chayka has] been doing an unbelievable job with this organization and bringing some good players in," Ekman-Larsson said. "He's been asking me about some good players and we had the chance to bring them in and we have them on the team now. That means a lot to me. I have a lot of confidence in Chayka.

"... I think it's one of the best D corps in the League, to be honest with you. Having Hjalmarsson, who has won the Cup three times as well being a great leader for the young guys, and [Alex] Goligoski having a really good year last year, Kevin coming back, too, I think it starts from the blue line and the goalies. We have a lot of confidence in our D corps and goalies (Antti Raanta, Darcy Kuemper) and that can help the team."

Ekman-Larsson was selected by the Coyotes with the No. 6 pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. He has 290 points (102 goals, 188 assists) in 576 games in eight NHL seasons.

"It's a huge moment for our entire organization. Our fans should be proud, our ownership should be proud, our staff and everyone involved," Chayka said. "A superstar-caliber player has the option to go to maybe any of the 31 teams and felt the loyalty and felt the belief enough in what we're doing to sign on long term. He's a leader on and off the ice and a special person, a special player. 

"To get someone like that locked up long term and hopefully make him a Coyote for life, that's what we were after and we pursued it aggressively."

Ekman-Larsson said former teammate Shane Doan, who played all 21 of his NHL seasons for the Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets franchise, helped him decide the extension was right for him.

"Just being around Shane for all these years helped me to realize there's more to life than money," he said. "Being loyal to your team and people that really care and believe in you, that's something I had in the back of my head and that's why I wanted to stay.

"I actually called Shane Doan before I made my final decision. I talked to him a little bit and just asked some questions and it helped me a lot. It was nice to talk to him and get his opinion on it. He didn't say 'Do this' or 'Do that.' He just helped me to clear my mind a little bit. It was nice to have the opinion of an old teammate to weigh in on this." correspondent Craig Morgan contributed to this report.

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.