According to Elliotte Friedman, the Edmonton Oilers have made a trade with the Nashville Predators that will see them acquire defenseman Mattias Ekholm. Friedman writes, “Ekholm will be going to EDM…not fully sure of return, but multiple pieces/picks.” Friedman also reported, “To NASH it’s Tyson Barrie, Reid Schaefer, a first this year and a fourth.”
It will be interesting to see if the Oilers got the Predators to retain salary on the player. He’s got three more seasons after this one with a cap hit of $6.25 million per season. It’s good to have the player under term, but the cost is high and at the age of 32, the Oilers could start to see his game regress over the final seasons of that deal. ** Update: as per Pierre LeBrun: “Predators retain four percent of Ekholm remaining cap hit/salary.” It’s interesting they would hold one of their three retention slots for $250K.
That it will cost the Oilers Tyson Barrie is also fascinating as it takes a huge dent out of the Oilers top-unit power play, one that is ranked the best in the NHL this season.
Edmonton was going to need to send assets back to Nashville to make the money work and Barrie’s $4.5 million salary would certainly give the Oilers the room to do this without salary retention involved. Schaefer is also an intriguing prospect as he was the top pick in the draft for Edmonton this past summer.
This deal will make the Oilers infinitely better defensively and that was something that Holland identified as a priority at his media avail on Tuesday following the Puljujarvi trade. The consensus from many Oilers fans on Tuesday is that Ekholm is exactly the kind of player the Oilers need. Holland gave up a lot, but that’s what you do if you have a smaller window to win and for excellent players with term. Ekholm is a first-pairing defensive defenseman. If he plays with Evan Bouchard, this could be a very solid pairing for the next three seasons.
Next: Maple Leafs Trade Engvall to Islanders, Add Canucks’ Schenn
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