Ekholm seems to be the hot name on the trade market for the Predators right now, and fans are starting to say their goodbyes to the veteran defenseman. And for good reason.
He is undoubtedly someone who the team would love to keep for the future, but doing so just doesn’t make sense given the current situation.
With the way the Predators have declined since 2017-2018, and Ekholm being due for a sizable pay raise in 2022-2023, it does not make sense to pay him that much when he is going to be a second pairing defenseman.
Trading him soon would make much more sense, because there is a chance that the Predators could get a luscious package in return. Remember that if Ekholm did not play for such a defense-heavy team, he would be a top pairing defenseman.
He would be a big help for any other team whose Cup window is within the next two seasons. I especially could see teams like the Florida Panthers — who have serious playoff aspirations but holes on their blue line — giving the Predators a nice sum for Ekholm.
Panthers or not, he is likely to be out of Nashville sooner rather than later.