A lot has changed with the Nashville Predators’ mindset regarding the trade deadline this season.
While part of this is because the team itself has played much better on the ice, winning seven of their last eight games and finding themselves in a playoff spot, the other part is that their asking price for Mattias Ekholm may be a tad high.
It was reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger this morning on the Daily Faceoff podcast that the Preds were asking for a 1st round pick plus prospect defenseman Ville Heinola and at least one other piece in exchange for Mattias Ekholm.
Here was Dreger on the podcast addressing the Winnipeg Jets’ interest in Mattias Ekholm, starting at around the 18:00 mark:
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that [Jets’ GM Kevin] Cheveldayoff is going to add a piece, it’s just how do we rate which piece is the best fit and which piece is he willing to pony up and give some assets. Because even through the whole Mattias Ekholm thing, when it was highly speculated that the Preds were trying to trade him or willing to trade him, I mean the ask of Winnipeg on any of the talk for defense is a first round pick and [Ville] Heinola and then something else. The Jets do not want to part with Heinola. They don’t. Maybe that changes between now and the [April 12th deadline], but I doubt it.”
Ville Heinola is a highly rated defensive prospect for the Jets who was drafted at #20 in 2019. He made his NHL debut last season, playing eight games as an 18-year-old and putting up five points.
As good as Ekholm is, I don’t really blame the Jets for not wanting to part with their top defensive prospect and a 1st round pick and “something else” for him. His contract is great, but it’s only good through next season and there’s no guarantee the Jets will be able to re-sign him.
Preds making it clear Ekholm stays at deadline
What this asking price really says about the Predators at the deadline? That they are very unlikely to sell off any major pieces.
When your price tag for a trade piece is at an all-time high, or at least similar to notable high priced trades for defensemen in the past, what it really means is that you aren’t serious about moving him. Unless the perfect offer comes through for Ekholm, the Preds are not out trying to dump an asset just to make a move.
This is a change from where things stood a month ago, where people were speculating that not only could Ekholm be moved, but that even guys like Filip Forsberg and Dante Fabbro could be traded. That may have been premature and extreme at the time, but remember the Preds were knocking on the door of a lottery pick and things looked hopeless.
By keeping Mattias Ekholm’s asking price that high, it seems clear that the Nashville Predators will be keeping him on the team this season. Perhaps they revisit a possible trade over the summer, which would open the market up considerably, but Ekholm is likely not going to get moved before April 12th.
— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —