A Home Run Trade for the Predators, Even if it Hurts
No matter how painful this one is, and will be for a long time, the Nashville Predators hit one out of the park with dealing Mattias Ekholm to the Edmonton Oilers.
First off, let me get this out of the way; I can’t stress enough how difficult it was seeing Ekholm walk into the Oilers locker room with his Predators bag of gear still strapped over his shoulder:
In the short term this is great for Edmonton. Ekholm is going to instantly make them a better team and a more solid contender for the Stanley Cup. However, they are taking a risk with Ekholm’s contract that still has three more years left.
This could get dicey for Edmonton is year three and four of this remaining contract, but much like the Tampa Bay Lightning and Jeannot, the Oilers are in “win now” mode as are most buyers at the trade deadline. And the Nashville Predators front office is taking advantage of that seller’s market.
For the Predators, they get Tyson Barrie, who David Poile says will fill a major need of getting more offense out of their defensemen. Maybe Barrie gets flipped eventually, but as of now, look for him to boost the Nashville power play.
Even if you end up trading Barrie away next season for something bigger, it’s still a great addition in exchange for Ekholm.
Arguably the best part of this trade is Nashville acquires another 1st-round draft pick in this year’s upcoming draft, which is being held in Nashville. That gives them 13 draft picks in 2023, and two in the first round. Tons of leverage come draft day.
The Predators also flipped a 6th-round pick in 2024 for a 4th-round pick in the trade. And then there’s prospect Reid Schaefer, who has low potential for the NHL currently from a lot of analysts:
It made total sense to trade Ekholm in this market, and overall this is an outstanding return from the Oilers that justifies parting ways with such an key piece to Nashville Predators hockey for so long. Retaining the $250,000 is the only reason I don’t give this a perfect grade.