Many are expecting the Nashville Predators to be sellers at the trade deadline on April 12 and for weeks now, the name of defenseman Mattias Ekholm has been mentioned in trade chatter. It was even reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers were amongst the teams interested in landing Ekholm.
However, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman dropped a bomb on Tuesday, revealing that blue liner Ryan Ellis could be available for trade as well.
“Biggest question Poile must answer: Mattias Ekholm or Ryan Ellis? Initially, the latter was off limits, but something’s made the Predators think. Both are highly regarded defenders. There are a lot of players with Ellis’s term (six years remaining at a $6.25-million AAV) who couldn’t get moved now, but I could see him being an exception. The cost to get either is high, and there might be added comfort in knowing, if you’re going to do that, Ellis is locked in longer. (Ekholm is up after next season.)”
Now, we know Ellis is out a while after undergoing surgery earlier this week for an upper-body injury. He’s missed 11 games and doesn’t have a set timetable to return.
However, if he can return for the postseason, he would be a huge boost to a contender and that team wouldn’t have to worry - yet - about cap space. With six years left at $6.25M annually remaining on his deal, Ellis would normally be hard to move. However, Friedman believes Ellis is the exception to the rules and even points out that the Flyers could be the perfect destination for him.
“This is purely my opinion, but Ellis screams Philadelphia. Predators head coach John Hynes revealed the blue liner recently had surgery, so he’s not solving anyone’s short-term problems. That fits for the Flyers, since he can still be an impactful player for years. The way they’ve played, they’re not moving major pieces to save the spring of 2021. But Ellis could replace a valuable loss — Matt Niskanen — for the long term.”
This potential new name on the trade block will surely get teams going. But they’ll want to find out more about Ellis’ injury before pulling the trigger.
Who does it?!