The name of veteran defenseman Mattias Ekholm has been on every single trade bait board as we move closer and closer to the National Hockey League's trade deadline. That being said it doesn't sound like his current team, the Nashville Predators, are in any kind of hurry to trade him and quite frankly they may not be willing to trade him at all unless they get a monstrous offer.
On Monday NHL insider Darren Dreger was a guest on the Daily Face Off podcast and he discussed the possibility of Ekholm being traded, highlighting the fact that the Winnipeg Jets and the Predators had discussed the possibility of making the deal. Now I am not at all surprised to learn that the Jets were taking a serious look at acquiring Ekholm, they have after all consistently been mentioned as one of the teams in the mix in the rumor mill, what was surprising however was just how much the Predators wanted in exchange.
According to Dreger the Predators asked for 3 pieces in exchange for giving up Ekholm. Those 3 pieces were the Winnipeg Jets first round pick, presumably at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, defenseman Ville Heinola, and "something else." Now there's no question that Ekholm is a very good player, one that will command a very high price, but this is effectively the Predators asking for two first round picks and then a little extra on top.
For those who are not yet familiar with Ville Heinola, he was the Jets first round draft selection at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, and although he has appeared in only 9 NHL games thus far he remains among their most promising prospects. The 20 year old defenseman still has plenty of time to develop, and it sounds like the Jets are fully aware of this.
According to Dreger the deal will not happen because the Jets are currently unwilling to part ways with Heinola, which makes sense considering he could in theory one day fill the role that they would be bringing in Ekholm to fill. Dreger did stipulate that things could change between now and the deadline, but for now it would seem as though the Jets have been priced out of this trade.