Top Stories of 2023 – No. 15: Oilers done after adding Mattias Ekholm and Nick Bjugstad ahead of trade deadline

Photo credit:James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
5 months ago
Now that we’re into the Christmas break, it’s a perfect time to take a look back at the year that was. Over the next few days, we’ll be counting down the most-viewed stories at Oilersnation of 2023.
At No. 15, we have the report from early March that the Edmonton Oilers were finished making moves ahead of the trade deadline after acquiring Mattias Ekholm and Nick Bjugstad in a pair of different trades.
“Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli posted on Twitter after the Bjugstad trade that “never say never, but believe #Oilers are done shopping after Ekholm and Bjugstad.”
The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman followed it up later with a Tweet of his own suggesting the same. “Barring something unforeseen — and stranger things have happened — I expect things will be quiet for the Oilers until the trade deadline passes at 1 p.m. MT on Friday (tomorrow). They’re very likely finished dealing.”
There’s still lots that could change, as both Seravalli and Nugent-Bowman noted. The Oilers are waiting to hear more about Kailer Yamamoto’s status ahead of tomorrow. If he’s to miss extended time, that could that launch the Oilers back into trade conversations.”
The Oilers ultimately wound up making three trades ahead of the deadline. Jesse Puljujarvi was moved to the Carolina Hurricanes as a salary dump, defence prospect Mike Kesselring and a third-round pick went to the Arizona Coyotes for Bjugstad, and Tyson Barrie, wing prospect Reid Schaefer, and a first-round pick were dealt to the Nashville Predators for Ekholm.
Ekholm was a huge addition to the team’s blueline, as he logged 20:47 per game on average and posted a 35-to-12 goal differential at even strength. Bjugstad chipped in four goals and six points down the stretch and was also a key part of Edmonton’s penalty kill. The Oilers went 18-2-1 the rest of the way in the regular season after the trade and went into the playoffs riding a nine-game winning streak that matched a franchise high.

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