Could the Oilers go back to Nashville to find another blue-liner?

Last season's trade for Mattias Ekholm was undoubtedly a success for the Oilers, and there's speculation another defenceman could be on the move from Nashville.
Nashville Predators v Washington Capitals
Nashville Predators v Washington Capitals / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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It's an understatement to make the claim that the trade for Mattias Ekholm last season was a resounding success. His positive impact on the Edmonton Oilers was undeniable after he arrived from Nashville.

The Oilers went 18-2-1 to finish the 2022-23 regular season, with Ekholm in the lineup. Defensively speaking, the average goals allowed per game went from 3.34 down to 2.67 after his arrival.

Now, as the Oilers look to upgrade the defence ahead of Friday's 1 p.m. MT trade deadline, could they once more go back to Nashville in order to find another quality blue-liner? It's at least a possibilty, if speculation is to be believed.

Is Alexandre Carrier on the radar?

Consider that last month, the highly respected Elliotte Friedman made reference to such a scenario. More specifically, he indicated on The Jeff Marek Show that the Oilers had an interest in the Predators' Alexandre Carrier.

Certainly Carrier is an intriguing player, renowned for his sound hockey IQ and mobility. He is a hard-nosed defenceman, who has the stamina and durability to log big minutes.

The 27-year-old burst onto the scene in 2021-22, as he produced 30 points and a +26 rating in 77 games for the Predators. Come season's end, he was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team.

However, there are a couple of aspects to consider, the first of which relates to Carrier's availability. There are some who believe the Predators may no longer be as interested in looking to move him, given the team's recent surge up the standings into a playoff position in the Western Conference.

The contract implications

The second aspect to consider is Carrier's contract situation, although this comes down to perspective. Financially speaking his $2.5 million cap hit would be workable for the Oilers who, as per Cap Friendly, are set to have $2,373,102 of cap space available at the trade deadline.

On the flip side, there is the question of what the Oilers would have to give up for the Predators to consider moving the right-shot defenceman? Ken Holland would understandably not want to give up a haul similar to what it took to acquire Ekholm. (Tyson Barrie and prospect Reid Schaefer, along with first and fourth round draft picks.)

In fairness it probably wouldn't take as much to acquire Carrier, given that he's set to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season. The Predators would like to get something for him rather than being too greedy, again assuming they are prepared to trade him given their playoff position.

Next. Gagner gets short end of the stick as Oilers prepare for a trade. Gagner gets short end of the stick as Oilers prepare for a trade. dark

Ultimately, while the Quebec City, Quebec native would be a nice addition for the Oilers, he doesn't have the same appeal as Ekholm, with them wanting to find a bonafide top-four or ideally top pairing defenceman. At the end of the day Holland can afford to aim higher, given they have some intriguing assets to offer in their attempts to strengthen the roster for a genuine run at the Stanley Cup.

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