Trading For Mattias Ekholm Was A Mistake By The Oilers
The Oilers are my 2023 Stanley Cup pick but I think general manager Ken Holland may have just screwed it. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl deserve so much more. Look, Mattias Ekholm is a good player but this was a terrible mistake by the Edmonton Oilers. A mistake that may have just cost them a Stanley Cup. A mistake that may eventually prompt McDavid and Draisaitl to head elsewhere in a few years.
In case you missed it, the Predators traded Ekholm to Edmonton. The problem is the fact that the Oilers got rid of Tyson Barrie in the process. On the surface, this trade doesn’t feel like anything other than a lateral move. The defense is better but the offense is worse. The Oilers are still in the same spot they were before the deal except with a worse contract on the books.
The Predators are retaining 4% of Ekholm’s contract to take it down to $6 million. The only problem is the deal doesn’t expire until 2026-27 when he reaches age 37. Is that the deal you really want to mortgage your future on while having McJesus on the roster?
All Edmonton really did here was trade offense for defense. When you have McJesus, maybe that’s a trade that makes sense. Still, the West is wide open and I’m not sure the Oilers really got better. Especially when you factor defense was also traded out with the Jesse Puljujärvi deal.
Who’s running the powerplay now? That can’t be discredited here. The Oilers have the best powerplay percentage in the league and Barrie had a lot to do with that. Evan Bouchard simply isn’t that guy to replace everything Barrie provided offensively. Ekholm is a great puck mover but isn’t someone that can quarterback a powerplay. The Oilers’ biggest strength may have been taken out with this trade and I’m not sure they get it.
If the Oilers come up short there will and should be a lot of finger pointing at Ken Holland. He inherited two of the games brightest stars and once again botched the complementary pieces. This trade feels like a mistake and it’s hard to pretend otherwise.