The Edmonton Oilers Finally Get McDavid A Defenseman, Trade For Mattias Ekholm
You have to figure this is a pretty make or break year for the Edmonton Oilers. You have Connor McDavid having the best season of his career so far. That's a career that already includes 2 Hart Trophies, 4 Art Ross Trophies, and 3 Ted Lindsay Awards. He's been the best player in the world for a few years now and somehow he's playing even better than he ever has before. And somehow the Oilers are still in 3rd place in their division.
If the Oilers don't at least sniff winning the Western Conference Finals this year then I don't know what would happen. I know they were in the WCF last season but getting swept by Colorado hardly counts. So they needed to go all in this year and they needed to do something that we've all thought they were physically incapable of ever pulling off.
Trading for a defenseman who isn't a total liability in his own zone.
Mattias Ekholm is that guy. A strong shutdown defenseman who also has a ton of upside as a two-way guy. Pretty much the perfect fit for the needs that Edmonton has. Obviously losing Tyson Barrie in the trade is going to hurt a little, but Ekholm still has 3 more years left on his deal at $6.25M AAV so I'm assuming they had to move Barrie to get the money to work.
Now about those 3 more years…yes, obviously Mattias Ekholm is getting a little older. I hate saying that because he's only 2 years older than I am. But is Mattias Ekholm going to be as productive at 35 as he is right now? Probably not. But that doesn't matter. Nothing matters besides these next few months. Because this is the year you need to make it happen if you're Edmonton. If they can't make it happen this year with the season that 97 is having, then they'll never get it done. So you go all in and make the move for Ekholm now, cruise your way through an easy schedule in the Western Conference playoffs, and then pray that the Eastern Conference eats itself alive on the other side of the playoffs.
If you want to be able to tell your grandkids one day that you got to watch the greatest hockey player there ever was, then McDavid needs to at least win one Cup. This trade helps that happen. So this is a huge trade for everybody.
P.S. -- The actual trade deadline is going to be nothing but a bunch of AHL contract swaps, isn't it?