If the Nashville Predators are going to trade defenseman Mattias Ekholm before the NHL Trade Deadline, the plan is to get the best possible return. Ekholm tops most insider lists as the most coveted potential trade acquisition, but the cost to acquire the player won’t be cheap. Elliotte Friedman suggests there are a few teams considering it, some more likely than others.
Apparently, the ask is two prospects and a 1st RD pick. Friedman goes on to suggest that a team will probably pay that price because he’s being seen as the only real difference-maker available this season. “He’s the guy. He’s the biggest name out there right now that I know of, and that people are willing to tell me is a difference-maker,” says the NHL insider. Friedman adds, “They’re looking for a Muzzin-type of package.”
Among the franchises he believes are kicking tires are the Winnipeg Jets and Boston Bruins. He added that he’s heard Montreal connected to Ekholm at times, but has been told recently they aren’t in the mix. He’s not sure today where the Habs stand.
Friedman questions whether Toronto is in the mix because that would give the Maple Leafs three lefties: Jake Muzzin, Morgan Rielly and Ekhlom. That’s just too many good, top-four d-men on the same team and that’s something the Leafs would have to try and sort out. They are potentially better off to spend assets elsewhere, if they’re going to be buyers.
Is There a Wildcard Team to Watch on Ekholm?
A team he suggested was a wildcard, Friedman named the Philadelphia Flyers. “I’ve have people tell me they’re not going to blow what it would take to get Ekholm unless they can solve an expansion draft issue at the same time, and do they really think that this is their year?” He added that some have told him Philadelphia is going to go for it anyways, but some have pushed back on that.
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