Jets' Nikolaj Ehlers a realistic trade target for Nashville Predators

The Winnipeg winger is officially on the market and the Predators should be a player in it.
Winnipeg Jets v Nashville Predators
Winnipeg Jets v Nashville Predators / Ronald C. Modra/GettyImages

We've talked a lot about the positive steps that the Nashville Predators took over the course of the 2023-2024 season. A sensational 2nd half of the season proved that the Preds are a team that will be in the top half of the league for some time. However, their 1st round playoff exit showed that the roster still needs some bolstering.

While General Manager Barry Trotz continues to make his plans for the future, he might be considering Nikolaj Ehlers. The Winnipeg Jets winger has officially hit the trade block according to various reports around the league, and the veteran winger seems to have exactly what the Predators are looking for in a player.

The 28-year-old Danish winger is squarely in his prime years as a player. Ehlers has already put up six seasons of 40 points or more and is coming off of a year where he scored 61 points (25 goals 36 assists) and was a +27 on the season. His fancy stats (Corsi/Fenwick) also came out of the positive for even strength with Winnipeg most often being on the offensive side of things when Ehlers was out on the ice.

Ehlers would instantly boost the Preds offense for next season

A top-6 and usually a top-line player for the Jets, Ehlers has shown a knack for firing the puck in all situations. His 233 shots on goal lead the Jets and would've been good for 3rd on the Predators, just shy of Roman Josi for 2nd place. Filip Forsberg had an absurd 347 (not shockingly leading to his best scoring season ever) but, no other Predators player had more than 200.

Last season the Predators were held under 30 shots 26 times. In their six playoff games against the Canucks, they only reached the 30-shot threshold twice, exactly at 30, and the rest of the games resulted in less than 30 shots.

The Predators are a player or two away from unlocking an offensive potential that should frighten the rest of the league. Ehlers propensity for shooting could make him that player.

Another reason why Trotz should consider making a move for Nikolaj Ehlers is that despite his incredible success, Gustav Nyquist isn't a long term solution, and the Predators really need another veteran forward. Young forwards like Tommy Novak and Luke Evangelista need a quality running mate. It is great that the 4th line all had career years, and that Colton Sissons pushed past the 30-point barrier, but the dropoff between the 1st line and everyone else is too severe.

Adding a player like Ehlers would mean that a quality player drops to the 2nd line. It could be Ehlers, as the Predators dynamic 1st line trio stays together. Or you could take a page from Max Greenberg's suggestion and go ahead and trade Nyquist right now, coming off a career year at max value.

Next. Preds. Why a Gus Nyquist Trade makes sense for Preds. dark

If you want to keep Nyquist, you could lessen his load and let him develop the young talent while Ehlers rides shotgun with Forsberg and O'Reilly. If Nyquist can't hack it, switch them. If Ehlers doesn't take off, change the scenery.

With the Predators cupboard stocked with assets, they have the ability to pull of this trade. Whether they can swing a division rival into signing on the dotted line is another story. However, they have the means, and motive to make a deal for Nikolaj Ehlers.