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Oilers Holland Working Hard on Deal for Blue Line Upgrade

Ken Holland is working the phones extremely hard for the Oilers trying to land a defenseman in the next few days. Who will it be?

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Edmonton Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland continues to work the phones ahead of Friday’s NHL Trade Deadline and after reporting Holland had reached out to Nashville about Mattias Ekholm and Montreal about Joel Edmundson, has added more information to his report. On Tuesday he tweeted, “The Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes were progressing on Jake Chychrun trade negotiations yesterday. Things cooled late afternoon. Holland also talking with CBJ and Nashville on Gavrikov and Ekholm. Plan is to resume talks with all 3 today.”

Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic adds that Vladislav Gavrikov of the Blue Jackets is likely “Plan C” for the Oilers, with Chychrun and Ekholm the leading targets. For the Nashville Predators defenseman, the early ask started with two first-round picks, according to LeBrun.

As for Ekholm, he still seems to be the favorite in terms of the eyes of most NHL insiders watching this situation unfold. The trick is the cap hit as the veteran has three years left after this year, and has a $6.25 million cap hit. That won’t be easy for the Oilers to make work without moving names like Kailer Yamamoto or Jesse Puljujarvi off the roster. David Pagnotta reports, “Oilers aren’t the only club in this mix, I think LA’s kicked this idea around too at one point, but he’d help EDM’s D corps.”

Mattias Ekholm Predators trade talk
Mattias Ekholm Predators trade talk

If the Oilers prioritize Ekholm over Chychrun, it’s because they’ve identified defense as their biggest issue. It makes sense to do so considering the sheer number of goals the team has given up over the last 10 games, while also scoring so much they should be undefeated. The Oilers are coming up on a huge stretch of games that will see them play some of the most potent offenses in the NHL. A player like Ekholm would be a nice addition to have for that stretch of games.

Next: Connor McDavid Hits 50 Goals For First Time In His NHL Career



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