Canucks acquire Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Chicago adds Seth Jones in Friday frenzy

The Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers all made blockbuster moves ahead of Friday's 2021 NHL draft.

Blues deal for Pavel Buchnevich while Bruins lock up Taylor Hall for 4 years

Former Coyotes defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, whom the Canucks traded for on Friday, has six seasons left on his contract at an average annual value of $8.25 million US. (Ross D. Franklin/The Associated Press)

The Vancouver Canucks dealt their first-round pick in Friday's draft to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for right-winger Conor Garland and defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

The trade also included Vancouver forwards Jay Beagle, Loui Eriksson and Antoine Roussel, the Canucks' second-round pick in 2022 and its seventh-round pick in 2023.

Garland, 25, had 29 points (12 goals, 27 assists) in 49 games with the Coyotes last season while the 30-year-old Ekman-Larsson put up 24 points (three goals, 21 assists) in 46 appearances.

The trade will see the two clubs swap some big salaries. Ekman-Larsson has six-years left on his deal with an annual cap hit of $8.25 million US, while Beagle, Eriksson and Roussel will combine for a cap hit of $12 million next season.

Arizona lost its first round pick in this year's draft when the NHL sanctioned the team for violating the league's combine testing policy in 2020.

The Canucks have lots of work left to do as the draft continues Saturday with the second round. Vancouver still holds the No. 41, 137, 140, 169, 178 and 201 picks this year.

It's the second year in a row the Canucks won't have a first-round pick. Last year, Vancouver's first selection came in the third round when it took Finnish defenceman Joni Jurmo 82nd overall.

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Earlier this week, Vancouver traded its third-round selection (No. 73) to the Dallas Stars in exchange for forward Jason Dickinson ahead of the expansion draft roster freeze last week.

The club was handed the ninth pick after finishing the pandemic-condensed season last in the all-Canadian North Division with a 23-29-4 record.

It was a tough campaign for Vancouver, which suffered a COVID-19 outbreak in late March that saw 21 players and four coaching staff test positive for the virus.

Adding Seth Jones 'huge move' for Chicago

Seth Jones is now with Chicago and could become the organization's cornerstone on the blue-line.

Chicago acquired the star defenceman from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a blockbuster trade Friday just before the NHL draft. Besides Jones, Chicago picked up the 32nd pick in the draft and a 2022 sixth-rounder from the Blue Jackets for 20-year-old defenceman Adam Boqvist, the 12th and 44th picks in the draft and a 2022 first-rounder.

"Thrilled to be able to add someone like Seth Jones to our team," general manager Stan Bowman said on a video call after the first round. "He's an impact defenceman that we've been searching for for quite some time, and to finally be able to add him to our group here is a huge move for the whole group. I think it changes the complexion of our defence in particular but our team in general."

The Chicago Blackhawks picked up star defenceman Seth Jones Friday before the 2021 Entry Draft. Jones' contract will span eight year-$76 million deal, according to reports. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

And this isn't a one-year move. Jones agreed to terms on a eight-year, $76-million extension that carries a $9.5 million annual salary cap hit, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the extension cannot be signed until next week.

Bowman said Chicago has been plotting their cap situation and stockpiling assets to make this kind of move.

Jones skated more than 25 minutes a game last season and recorded 28 points in 56 games. He has 286 points in 580 regular-season NHL games.

Bowman called Jones "one of the few players that can do everything."

"He's got all the attributes that you look for in the modern defenceman with his skating, his size, his defensive ability," he said. "He's got the size and the skating as well as the ability to play those tough minutes against top players in every situation from the power play to the penalty kill.

"He's the guy you want on the ice with a minute to go when you're protecting a lead as well as when you're down a goal. Those are tough to find."

Friday's other moves:

  • The St. Louis Blues acquired high-scoring forward Pavel Buchnevich from the New York Rangers for Sammy Blais and a 2022 second-round pick.
  • On the signing front, the Boston Bruins locked up Taylor Hall with a four-year contract worth $24 million. Hall will count $6 million against the salary cap through the 2024-25 season. Buffalo dealt Hall to Boston at the trade deadline and he fit in perfectly as a complementary forward on the second line.
  • The Philadelphia Flyers traded the 14th pick and a 2023 second-rounder to the Buffalo Sabres for big defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen.

With files from The Associated Press

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