When it was first suggested by some NHL Insiders back in mid-February that Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm may become available on the NHL Trade market, it was suggested here that the Predators rearguard should instantly become the top trade target for the Boston Bruins. Then again last week, my partner in crime Joe Haggerty, and I made Ekholm our top trade target in our first Bruins Top 10 Trade Targets list.
Well, according to Sportsnet Insider Elliotte Friedman, the Bruins are indeed in on Ekholm – who according to him and his co-host on the 31 Thoughts Podcast, Jeff Marek – is the big fish on the NHL Trade market.
“Ekholm. He’s the guy,” Friedman said. “He’s the biggest name out there that I know of and that people are willing to tell me, who’s a difference-maker. Now, they’re looking for a Muzzin type of package; two prospects and a first-rounder and someone’s gonna pay that. Now my question is: ‘Who’s it gonna be? Winnipeg I think is in; Boston is in; I’ve had some questions about whether or not Toronto’s in?”
Friedman went on to explain how there might not be room for Ekholm on the left side of the Leafs’ blueline. He also added the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens as interested NHL trade suitors for Ekholm, who has one year left after this season on his current contract that carries a very reasonable $3.7 million salary cap hit.
“The thing with Toronto is if you get [Ekholm], you got three lefties, Riley, Muzzin, and him. What are you doing with that? How are you sorting that out?” Friedman pointed out. “I’ve heard at times, Montreal’s in, but I’ve also had people tell me that Montreal’s not so I don’t know what to make of that. The other wild card there is Philly and again, I’ve had people tell me when it’s Philly, they’re not gonna blow what it takes to get unless they can solve an expansion draft issue at the same time, and do they really think this is their year? I’ve had other people tell me that Philly’s going to go for it anyway but again, some people have pushed back on that.
So I’ve had at least five teams: Boston, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Philly, and I think he’s the guy,” Friedman said. “Now the other team out there but it’s not a defenseman, I think Detroit is pretty interesting. I think Detroit has almost everyone available.”
Marek then jumped in and said, ‘Whoa hold on, someone not named [Dylan] Larkin right?’.
“And Seider and Raymond,” Friedman added, referencing the Wings’ top two prospects Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond.
“What does someone think of Anthony Mantha or Tyler Bertuzzi?” Friedman added. “But I still think as far as I can tell, Ekholm, he’s the guy.”
Friedman went on to say that the Ducks are leaning towards keeping Rickard Rakell rather than trading him before the NHL Trade Deadline.
Mantha was also on that BHN Top Ten NHL Trade targets for the Bruins list. The 26-year-old winger has three years left on a contract that carries a $5.7 million cap hit. Mantha has eight goals and six assists in 28 games. Bobby Ryan could also be someone Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney targets for offensive help. Ryan is on an expiring deal so his $1 million cap hit would be prorated with no term left. Ryan has six goals and seven assists in 28 games.
Now onto the rest of your BHN Links:
Before we get into the daily Bruins and NHL links, a reminder that if you’re not a BHN+ subscriber, you only have two days left to take advantage of our St. Patrick’s Day Flash Sale! Until Thursday, you can get a yearly subscription for just $29.99!
BHN+ is exclusive Boston Bruins and NHL content from Haggs and me. That means insightful long read columns and analysis of Bruins and NHL trade rumors based on constant conversations we are having with NHL management, scouts, coaches, players and agents. With thee NHL trade deadline less than a month away, you’ll want to stay connected to know how the Bruins plan to solve their scoring woes on the NHL Trade market! (Boston Hockey Now)
Haggs and I agree wholeheartedly with him, doesn’t like the prospect of the Bruins continuing to try and play mistake-free hockey and thinking too much about their mistakes. (Boston Hockey Now)
The Bruins will start rookie goalie Dan Vladar tonight but Haggs thinks the better option right now would be Jeremy Swayman, who is stonewalling the AHL in his rookie season for the Providence Bruins. Swayman is 7-0-0 with a 1.57 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage. (Boston Hockey Now)
The Bruins won’t be the only team trying to get a head start on others on the NHL Trade market. Leafs GM Kyle Dubas told the media Tuesday that is exactly how he’s approaching improving his team via an NHL Trade. (TSN)
Tell us how you really feel about the Buffalo Sabres Mike Harrington! (Buffalo News)
Nine years after it led the Los Angeles Kings to their first-ever Stanley Cup, Sutter Magic is at it again in Calgary with the Flames. (Sportsnet)
Speaking of the aforementioned Anthony Mantha, the Detroit winger is trying to find his scoring touch again. (Detroit News)
Since I won’t be doing the Links tomorrow, here’s your final St. Patrick’s Day-themed Murph’s Music Pick of The Day. You didn’t think I forgot The Pogues did ya!