Predators trade D Mattias Ekholm to Oilers

Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) plays against the Vancouver Canucks during...
Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) plays against the Vancouver Canucks during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 5:55 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2023 at 6:14 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The Nashville Predators traded defenseman Mattias Ekholm to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, the Predators announced.

The Predators sent Ekholm and a sixth-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft to the Oilers in return for defenseman Tyson Barrie, forward Reid Schaefer, a first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

“We are excited to add one of the NHL’s most consistent offensive producers from the blueline in Tyson Barrie to our roster and talented forward with high upside in Reid Schaefer to our ever-growing prospect pool with this trade,” Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile said in a news release. “At the same time, this trade bolsters our number of potential draft picks over the next two years, including another first-round selection in this summer’s NHL Draft, which will be hosted at Bridgestone Arena.

“On behalf of the entire organization, we want to thank Mattias and his wife Ida for their contributions to the Predators both on and off the ice over the last 12-plus years. The role he played in our franchise’s accomplishments cannot be overstated – from being a staple of our leadership group, including serving as an alternate captain; to helping guide us to a Stanley Cup Final, a Presidents’ Trophy and two Central Division titles; and to being a constant positive presence in our efforts to grow the game in our community. We wish Mattias and his family all the best in Edmonton and thank him for all he did during his time in Nashville.”

Barrie, 31, is tied for 11th among NHL defensemen in points this season with 43 (10 goals, 33 assists) in 61 games for the Oilers.

Schaefer, 19, is skating in his fourth season with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds in 2022-23 and sits tied for fourth on his team in goals (23) and sixth in points (47). The 6-foot-3, 215-pound forward is tied for fourth in the WHL in game-wining goals with a career-high seven and has scored four times on the power play after tallying nine such goals in 2021-22.

In addition to the trade with the Oilers, the Predators also acquired forward Austin Rueschhoff from the New York Rangers in exchange for future considerations.

Rueschhoff, 25, has recorded 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) in 31 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate. It is the 6-foot-7, 242-pound right wing’s third professional season, all coming with Hartford. He’s tallied 43 points (20 goals, 23 assists) and 92 penalty minutes in 113 contests.

The Predators now own 12 selections in the 2023 NHL Draft, which will be hosted in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena on June 28-29 – one in the second and sixth rounds; two in the first and fifth rounds; and three in the third and fourth rounds. Nashville has nine picks in the 2024 NHL Draft – one in the first, third, fifth and seventh rounds; two in the fourth round; and three in the second round.

The team traded forward forward Nino Niederreiter to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a 2024 draft pick on Saturday. On Sunday, the Predators sent forward Tanner Jeannot to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Cal Foote, who is expected to play on Tuesday night, and four draft picks.

The club also announced Sunday the retirement of Poile effective June 30 and the return of Barry Trotz, the organization’s coach for the first 15 years of existence, as the general manager.