‘Yotes Notes: Ekman-Larsson wants to sign an extension this summer
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Oliver Ekman-Larsson said he would like to sign a contract extension with the Coyotes when he is eligible on July 1.
“I would obviously like to figure something out,” he said Monday as the team cleaned out its lockers at Gila River Arena. “I’ve said it so many times. This is where I want to be. Hopefully we can work something out.”
Ekman-Larsson, 26, will enter the final year a six-year, $33 million contract in 2018-19. The deal carries an average annual value of $5.5 million. He will make $7 million next season.
Ekman-Larsson had 42 points (14 goals, 28 assists) in 82 games. He led the team in average ice time per game at 23:40. After a rough start in which he was minus-32 after the first three months, Ekman-Larsson had eight goals and 15 assists over the final three-plus months with a plus-six rating.
“The last two months he was terrific,” coach Rick Tocchet said. “His leadership was great. I liked the way he played. The team fed off him.”
Ekman-Larsson scored his 100th NHL goal in a 5-2 win against the Calgary Flames at Gila River Arena on March 19. He is the sixth Swedish defenseman to reach 100 goals, joining Nicklas Lidström (264), Börje Salming (150), Fredrik Olausson (147), Calle Johansson (119) and Erik Karlsson (125).
Chayka updated the injury situations for multiple players on Monday. He said defenseman Jakob Chychrun suffered “a fairly significant” knee injury that will require offseason surgery. It is not related to the knee injury he suffered last summer.
Chychrun was injured at 17:13 of the first period in a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 3. Flames forward Michael Frolik tripped Chychrun from behind with his skate and leg along the end boards. Chychrun fell to the ice backward and stayed down for several minutes. Frolik received a minor penalty for tripping.
Chychrun underwent knee surgery on Aug. 3 to repair an injury he sustained that week during offseason training. He missed the first 29 games of the season. He returned to the lineup on Dec. 3 against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena and scored a goal in his season debut.
In other injury news:
— Defenseman Jason Demers said he had a blood clot removed from his left hand.
“It was probably a month and a half where I had pain my hand,” he said. “At first I thought my wrist was sprained, and then they thought I had broken a bone in my hand.”
Demers said an MRI revealed the clot. He said it is not serious and the recovery time is short.
— Center Derek Stepan played the final 15 games with a fracture in his right foot that occurred March 10 at Colorado. He said it feels better inside his skate than it does walking around the house.
— Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson suffered a core injury that he said will require about six weeks of additional recovery. Hjalmarsson played his last game on March 22 at Carolina.
— Center Christian Dvorak suffered a back injury that he said requires a short recovery time. Dvorak played his last game on March 29 at Los Angeles.
— Defenseman Kevin Connauton suffered a head injury that is not considered serious.
— Center Laurent Dauphin and Tucson Roadrunners forward Nick Merkley both suffered knee injuries. Dauphin played his last game March 7 at Vancouver. Merkley was injured on March 21 against the San Jose Barracuda. Their timelines are unknown.
Chayka said he expects all of the players to be ready for training camp.
Ekman-Larsson said Monday he would play for Sweden at the World Championships in Denmark in May. Chayka said other players had been invited, but Ekman-Larsson was the only who announced his commitment on Monday.
Forward Clayton Keller cited the grind of the season as a potential barrier for him.
Hjalmarsson said he would have played if not for his injury. Copenhagen is only a three-hour drive from his house.
Goalie Antti Raanta was undecided on his participation.
Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet played 621 games with the Philadelphia Flyers. He played 150 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins and won two Stanley Cups as an assistant coach with the Penguins.
Those two teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs. When asked where his allegiances lie, Tocchet chose diplomacy.
“Coyotes, man,” he said. “I’m not going down that river.”
— Boston University defenseman Brandon Hickey, whom the Coyotes acquired in the Mike Smith trade last summer, will likely become a free agent this summer and sign with another team, a league source said. The Coyotes own Hickey’s rights until Aug. 1.
— Zac Rinaldo and Brad Richardson, who can become unrestricted free agents on July 1, said they would like to return to Arizona next season.
— Chayka said the majority of the personnel additions he needs to make this summer are at forward. “We need to add some high-end players up front and add some depth, continue to grow that group,” he said.