The Florida Panthers added a veteran presence to their blueline Saturday — they’ll be signing defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to a one-year, $2.25M deal, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Ekman-Larsson, 31, has appeared in over 900 NHL games between Arizona and Vancouver since entering the league in 2010.
The former Coyotes captain spent the last two seasons in Vancouver, scoring 51 points in 133 games. He has 439 points in 902 career NHL regular season games.
The Canucks bought out the last four years of Ekman-Larsson’s contract two weeks ago — which would have carried an AAV of $8.25M through the 2026-2027 season.
The left-shot defenseman joins a Panthers backend that will be missing some bodies to start the 2023-2024 NHL season after an injury-filled run to the Stanley Cup Final.
Aaron Ekblad is expected to miss the start of next season as a result of the numerous injuries he picked up during the postseason. Brandon Montour was also hurt during the playoffs, his status for the beginning of next season isn’t known at the moment.
On top of the injuries, both Radko Gudas and Marc Staal are on the market as UFA’s. Florida very well could start the year with half or more of their blue line looking different than the one that took the ice in the Stanley Cup Final.
Ekman-Larsson comes in at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds. Of the seven defenseman who appeared in the Stanley Cup Final for the Panthers, only two are bigger than OEL — Aaron Ekblad and Marc Staal.
After the Ekman-Larsson signing, the Panthers are expected to have just over $8M in remaining cap space.
Ekman-Larsson will be 32-years-old when training camp starts in September.