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Mattias Ekholm trade details: Oilers strengthen blue line by adding Predators defenseman

Edmonton needed to add a defender by deadline, and the team found their answer.

The Oilers traded for Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm on Tuesday in a big move for both sides.

Nashville received a package that included defenseman Tyson Barrie, a prospect and two picks, including a first-round pick in this year’s draft.

Ekholm, 32, has played in 57 games for the Predators this year, his 12th with the organization. He has 13 assists and 18 points while averaging 21:44 on the ice. He also contributed 76 blocked shots and 62 hits.

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The Sporting News has covered the details of the Ekholm trade.

Trading details by Mattias Ekholm

  • Obtain Oiler: D Mattias Ekholm, 2024 pick in the 6th round
  • Predators get: D Tyson Barrie, F Reid Schafer, 2023 1st round selection, 2024 4th round selection

The Oilers needed to address their blue line issues. While the team is one of the most dynamic offensively, defense has always been Edmonton’s Achilles heel.

Ekholm is an excellent two-way blueliner that handles the puck really well. He’ll be a great backend option to drive the transition game that Edmonton thrives on. He’s also very reliable in his own zone and can clear bodies in front of the net.

With Ekholm, the Oilers aren’t just getting help this season. Ekholm is under contract for another three years after this year. It’s a move that will provide Edmonton with a reliable top-four defender at a reasonable price for years to come.

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At 32, there are some concerns about the longevity of Ekholm’s contract. However, the Sweden defender has had a great year with Nashville and can be moved down again if he fails to fulfill the contract.

Edmonton did without defenseman Tyson Barrie, who became replaceable as an all-offensive player with the emergence of 23-year-old Evan Bouchard. Barrie had 43 points in 61 games with the Oilers this season.

Schaefer is the Oilers’ 2022 first-round pick. The 19-year-old is a powerful forward and is in his third season with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, where he has 47 points in 44 games. Schafer was also on Canada’s 2023 World Juniors Team and played a role in the fourth row.

Contract details of Mattias Ekholm

Ekholm is in the first year of a four-year, $25 million deal he signed with the Predators in 2021. The contract is capped at $6.25 million for an additional three years.

The Predators keep 4% of Ekholm’s remaining cap on his contract.

The defender won’t be a free agent until 2026.

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