Acquiring Mattias Ekholm from the Predators
This would be a deal in which both teams are trading from their respective positions of strength. Nashville has a lot of depth on defence but could use more help upfront and it’s no secret the Maple Leafs need some assistance on the back end.
In Andras Johnsson, the Predators get forward depth at a good age, and reasonable cap hit. Last season, Johnsson came on the scene with 43 points in 73 games and finished eighth in Calder Trophy voting for top rookies. Injuries held him to just 43 games this season, but he still posted 21 points for the Leafs.
The left-winger has three years left at $3.4 million cap hit and is just 25 years old. Pierre Engvall helps balance out the salaries and gives the Leafs a tiny bit of breathing room under the cap. He provides a potential fourth-line centre for Nashville at a cheap $925,000.
Mattias Ekholm instantly becomes the Leafs’ second or third best defenceman and brings exactly what they need. While he chips in some points (196 points in 538 career games played), he is the physical stay-at-home defender the Maple Leafs desperately need.
The 30-year old has two years left on his contract at a very digestible $3.75 million. While this trade does little to improve the Maple Leafs’ cap situation, it does help balance out the team. The second-round pick helps sweeten the pot for Nashville to part with a steady presence on their blue line.