Two months ago the Nashville Predators appeared headed for a fire sale, but a dramatic turnaround saw them be buyers instead of sellers at the NHL Trade Deadline Monday.
Predators General Manager David Poile made one small deal to add depth to a banged up defensive corps trading a 7th round pick and prospect Brandon Fortunato to Ottawa for defenseman Erik Gudbranson.
The bigger story is who the Predators did not trade. Mattias Ekholm, Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula were just some of the names mentioned in trade talks when the Predators were mentioned, but with the Predators fourth in the Central Division Poile elected to stand pant.
The big name was Ekholm who was sure to bring the Predators a haul of draft picks and prospects. Poile made it clear he prefers Ekholm stay a Predator for a very long time, “We have it covered, we’re not losing Mattias Ekholm in expansion, if that’s what you’re asking. I’ve got that covered. My next conversation with Mattias will be after this year about how he feels he fits in to the future of this hockey club and whether he would like to be here longer”.
Ekholm has 5 goals and 12 assists in 36 games this season and with Ryan Ellis and Dante Fabbro both injured he has tuned in monster minutes and played some of his very best hockey leading the Preds 2nd defensive pairing.
Granlund was a sought after player and is on an expiring contract, but he has 10 goals and 7 assists this season and Poile indicated he is ready to talk to Granlund about returning next year to Nashville.