The Oilers have traded Tyson Barrie, Reid Schaefer, and two draft picks for Mattias Ekholm
Photo credit:© Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis8 months ago
Ken Holland has made the splash that Oilers fans have been asking for.
According to Elliotte Friedman, the Oilers have acquired defenceman Mattias Ekholm from the Nashville Predators. Heading back to Nashville will be Tyson Barrie, 2022 first-round pick Reid Schaefer, and Edmonton’s first- and fourth-round picks in the 2023 draft…
The Preds selected Ekholm in the fourth round of the 2009 draft and he broke through as an NHLer during the 2013-14 season. Since then, he’s been a key part of Nashville’s blueline, playing a rock-solid defensive game while also helping the team’s transition game with an excellent first pass.
The 2016-17 season saw Eklhom emerge as a top-pairing defender. He scored 23 points over 82 games in the regular season while logging 23:38 per night and he stepped up and added 11 points in 22 games while playing 25:20 per night during Nashville’s run to the Stanley Cup Final.
This season has been somewhat of a down year for Ekholm, but that’s been the case for many players on the Predators as the team struggles through a disappointing year. Ekholm is in the red in terms of on-ice goal differential at 35-to-32 and the addition of veteran shutdown defender Ryan McDonagh in the off-season has seen his ice-time decline to 21:44 per night on average.
You don’t have to look too far back to find excellent results from Ekholm. In 2021-22, he scored 31 points over 76 games while logging an average of 23:29 per game and he had an on-ice goal differential of 65-to-50. During the pandemic-shortened 2021 season, Eklhom put up 23 points in 48 games and had a wildly impressive 43-to-22 goal differential.
Ekholm gives the Oilers a much-needed veteran defender to play the left side of their second pairing. He’ll be able to take minutes off of Darnell Nurse’s plate while also serving as a mentor to Philip Broberg and Evan Bouchard.
He’s in the first season of a four-year, $25 million contract but Nashville is retaining four percent so he’ll have a $6 million cap hit for the duration of the deal. The Oilers opened up more than enough room to make this trade work financially by sending Barrie and his $4.5 million cap hit the other way along with trading Jesse Puljujarvi and his $3 million cap hit to the Carolina Hurricanes earlier today.
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