Oilers bolster blue line by acquiring Mattias Ekholm from Predators

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers have acquired Mattias Ekholm from the Nashville Predators.

The Oilers also receive a sixth-round pick in 2024.

Headed the other way in the deal announced Tuesday are defenceman Tyson Barrie and prospect Reid Schaefer along with a first-round pick in 2023 and a fourth-round pick in 2024.

Nashville retains four per cent (US$250,000) of Ekholm's salary per season through 2025-26.

The trade was the second of the day by Oilers general manager Ken Holland — and a big swing to help his blue line — after sending winger and 2016 fourth overall pick Jesse Puljujarvi to the Carolina Hurricanes in a salary cap-clearing move that helped pave the way for Ekholm's arrival in the Alberta capital.

The 32-year-old has five goals and 18 points in 57 games in 2022-23, but an organization with plenty of firepower led by Connor McDavid didn't get the Swede for his offensive prowess.

Ekholm has 62 goals and 268 points in 719 career games. He's added 35 points (six goals, 29 assists) in 75 playoff appearances.

Barrie has 10 goals and 43 points this season. The 31-year-old, who signed with Edmonton in 2020, has 105 goals and 478 points in 744 career games with Colorado, Toronto and Edmonton.

He added 20 points (two goals, 18 assists) in 46 post-season contests.

Schaefer, 19, was selected 32nd overall by the Oilers at the 2022 draft.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2023.

The Canadian Press