Coyotes sign Ekman-Larsson to 8-year deal, sign Hjalmarsson, Grabner

The Arizona Coyotes were busy on Sunday morning as they finalized three contracts.

The first finalized contract of the day was the signing of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year deal. 

In 576 games with Arizona, Ekman-Larsson has 102 goals, 188 assists totaling 290 career points. The defenseman has the second most goals and second most points in franchise history by a defenseman.

“It’s always been my interest to stay and sign a new contract,” Ekman-Larsson said of his new deal. “I’m very happy. I love living in Arizona and I love playing for the Coyotes so it’s a no brainer for me.”

“It’s a big moment for our organization,” Coyotes General Manager John Chayka said in a statement. “Getting a superstar to commit long-term to your organization, a guy that would have had any option to play anywhere he wants in the League, to choose to stay with us and continue to grow with our group is a special feeling.”

Ekman-Larsson has one year remaining on his old contract, so Coyotes fans will be seeing the Sweden native on the ice in the desert for the next nine years.

“I believe in the team and I believe in the players that we’ve got,” Ekman-Larsson said. “I think we’re going to surprise some people.”

The Coyotes also signed defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to a two-year extension. In 48 games with Arizona in 2017-18, he had 118 blocked shots, second most on the team. Hjalmarsson has a career-total of 1,273 blocked shots since 2009-10, the sixth most in the NHL since then.

“Hammer is just a winner in every aspect of life in every way, in everything he does,” Chayka said. “He’s won at all levels. To bring that attitude, to bring that mindset to our team is amazing. I know it wears off on people.”

In addition to finalizing the two extensions, the Coyotes signed free agent forward Michael Grabner to a three-year contract. Last season, Grabner played with the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils. In 80 games he had 27 goals, his second consecutive season scoring that many.

“We are very pleased to sign Michael to a three-year contract,” Chayka said in a press release. “Michael is an excellent skater, elite penalty killer, and a proven even strength scorer. He will add skill and experience to our forward group and we are excited to have him join the Coyotes.”

The Coyotes have had a busy last couple of months already this summer. The trade of Max Domi to Montreal for Alex Galchenyuk, adding Marcus Kruger and signing Kevin Connauton, drafting nine players in the 2018 NHL Draft, and today’s contract signings.

With three months until training camp, it will be interesting to see what else the Coyotes will do this offseason.