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Canucks buy out Ekman-Larsson’s contract, making the defenseman an unrestricted free agent

He missed the final 27 games due to an ankle injury
Vancouver Canucks’ Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) celebrates with teammate Elias Pettersson (40) after scoring a goal during first period NHL hockey action against the New York Islanders, in Elmont, N.Y., Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. The Vancouver Canucks have bought out Oliver Ekman-Larsson, making the defenceman an unrestricted free agent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Franklin II

The Vancouver Canucks have bought out Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s contract, making the 31-year-old Swedish defenseman an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Vancouver said Friday (June 16) it agreed to pay Ekman-Larsson $19.33 million, spread over the next eight years to reduce its salary-cap hit. Ekman-Larsson had four years and $29 million remaining on the eight-year, $66 million contract he signed with Arizona in 2018.

“The business of hockey is very complex and tough decisions have to be made if you want to remain competitive,” Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said. “Buying out Oliver gives us a lot more flexibility and cap space the next couple of years and significantly reduces his hit in the subsequent season.”

The Canucks acquired the former Arizona captain and forward Conor Garland in a July 2021 trade with the Coyotes.

Ekman-Larsson had two goals and 20 assists in 54 games for the Canucks last season, missing the final 27 games because of an ankle injury. In 902 games in 13 seasons with the Coyotes and Canucks, he has 135 goals and 304 assists.

The Associated Press

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