"I signed (in 2018) because I wanted to be in Arizona until I'm 36," Ekman-Larsson told Ronnie Ronnkvist of Swedish publication Hockey Sverige, as translated by Ronnkvist's colleague, Uffe Bodin. "When this (trade) rumor appeared, it felt awkward, and it was a tough situation. I had never been in a situation like this before with trade rumors. Mentally, it was tough."
In September, multiple teams reportedly expressed interest in the Coyotes captain, who's coming off the first season of his aforementioned eight-year, $66-million extension. Then, on Oct. 1, it was reported that his list of acceptable destinations included the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks, and that those teams were involved in trade talks with the Coyotes before Arizona hired Bill Armstrong as general manager on Sept. 17.
"I have a no-trade/no-movement clause in my contract," Ekman-Larsson told Ronnkvist. "I picked those teams because I didn't want to stand in the way of the (Coyotes) in case they felt like they needed to move me. That's the person I am. I put those teams there as alternatives, but I never really wanted to move.
"I never really wanted to do anything but to stay in Arizona. I'm really happy that it ended this way. I really like to live there and it would have been very hard for me to leave."
Three days before free agency opened, Ekman-Larsson's agent informed the teams discussing a potential trade for his client that a deal had to be worked out by the first day of the frenzy on Oct. 9. Otherwise, the rearguard would stay put. No swap was ultimately consummated.
"There were a lot of rumors that the team would sell and get rid of players to save money," Ekman-Larsson said Wednesday. "But it never really happened and I actually think that we have a very good team on paper. We're a really tight-knit group and I really appreciate that."
The 29-year-old has spent his entire 10-year career with the Coyotes and was named captain in 2018-19. He ranks fourth on the franchise's all-time games played list and 10th in points.