After moving Jesse Puljujarvi in exchange for Patrik Puistola earlier in the day, the Edmonton Oilers went and made a bigger splash on the trade market. The Oilers have acquired defender Mattias Ekholm and a 2024 sixth-round pick from the Nashville Predators in a package that sees Tyson Barrie, Reid Schaefer, and Edmonton’s 2023 first- and 2024 fourth-round picks.
Edmonton adds Ekholm
Just days away from the 2023 NHL Tradeline, the Oilers have made their stance clear as they’re major buyers this year. The addition of Ekholm improves the Oilers’ defensive corps not just in the immediacy, but also for the coming years. The 32-year-old defenceman is signed through 2025–26 with a $6.25M cap hit. The Predators will also retain 4% of Ekholm’s remaining salary.
Ekholm has been one of the NHL’s better defenceman and should be a core player to stabilise the defensive side of the game for Edmonton. Drafted in 2009 102nd overall, Ekholm’s played his entire career with the Predators. He’s posted 62 goals and 206 assists for a total of 268 points in 719 regular season games.
Farewell to Barrie and Schaefer
The cost of business can be steep at times, and this trade demonstrates that. The Oilers bid adieu to Barrie, who’s been great this year in his role—especially on the power play. Since joining the Oilers in 2020–21, he’s scored 132 points over 190 games with 25 goals and 107 assists. He was signed through 2023–24 with a $4.5M cap hit.
Schaefer, selected 32nd overall in 2022, has spend this current season playing in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds, where he’s posted 23 goals and 24 assists in 44 games played. His progress throughout the season has seen ups and downs but he’s still shown plenty of signs of promise, especially with his play as of late.
Making moves ahead of the deadline
The Oilers are making moves for both the present and the future with this trade. By not making a rental on a pending unrestricted free agent, they instead have Ekholm under contract for the next three years—a very reasonable window to see how he ages into his 30s and how his play fits into the Oilers system.
We’ll see if the Oilers are done or if there’s more ahead.