By: Joey Partridge | Follow Me On Twitter @joey_partridge
Things have been heating up on the Boston Bruins trade rumors in the past few days. Among those is Oliver Ekman-Larsson from the Arizona Coyotes. Ekman-Larsson is a two-time all-star with the Coyotes. It is no secret that he is a world-class player, but there are two underlying questions. Is a trade for him worth it? You’re obviously getting a great player, but is it worth what you would have to give up? Secondly, the Bruins have an unrestricted free agent in Torey Krug. Ekman-Larsson has a cap hit of $8.25 million over the next seven years. So why not just pay Krug? Well, that is where there are differences.
It is no secret Krug is a fantastic hockey player who has made tremendous impacts on the Bruins over his tenure here. However, the one downfall to his game as an offensive defenseman can be in fact, defense. There are times where he has holes in his coverage in the defensive zone or gets beat through the neutral zone, but he makes up for it with his offense. Ekman-Larsson is more well-rounded as he is better defensively but not as offensive as Krug. However, Ekman-Larsson put up 30 points in 66 games this year as a defenseman, so he can clearly do the job.
75% percentile OEL
42nd percentile Krug
O zone starts
31st percentile OEL
100th percentile Krug
5v4 TOI OEL 53%, Krug 72%
4v5 TOI OEL 46%, Krug 2%
— Bruins Stats (@bruins_stats) October 1, 2020
Another thing to keep in mind is size. Not that size means everything in the NHL nowadays, but it is important. Krug is 5’9. Say you bring him back, you have Krug and Grzelyck, who is also 5’9, leading your left side of the defense. If Chara comes back, obviously being 6’9, you have no balance on your left side in terms of size and strength. Ekman-Larsson is 6’2. He has great size, can play both sides of the ice effectively, and brings that balance.
If you lose Torey Krug, you lose his best feature, his offense, but more importantly, his puck-moving skills. Ever since Bruce Cassidy took over for Claude Julian, you have seen the defense more involved in the offense. If Krug walks, you lose your best puck-moving defenseman. While Grzelcyk has shown that he can do it, adding another two-way defenseman is never a bad idea.
So, what could a trade for Ekman-Larsson look like? Arizona has mentioned that they want a first-round pick and a top-four defenseman going back. The Bruins don’t have a first-round pick in the 2020 draft, so they would either have to part with a future one or get creative. We have seen Jake Debrusk’s and Anders Bjork’s name pop up in trade rumors recently so it surely will be interesting to see if the Bruins can pull this off.
If Ekman-Larsson does end up joining the Boston Bruins, they will be getting one heck of a player. If he doesn’t, their defense will still be alright, and they may look to add someone else. Buckle up Bruins fans, it’s going to be a wild offseason.