Major trade proposal emerges trading Nikolaj Ehlers for top defenseman

Mark Parsons
May 30, 2024  (12:59)

Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers
Photo credit: Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers

With both the New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets exiting in the first round, their offseasons have started on a frustrating note. The Jets, with higher expectations, feel a stronger urge to make roster changes.

One name in the spotlight is Nikolaj Ehlers, set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2024-25 season. Despite rumors of the Islanders' interest in the 28-year-old forward, there's not much substance to these claims.

Ehlers becoming unrestricted free agent at the end of next season

Fans of both teams have been actively discussing mock trades online, but it's essential to consider the practicality of these proposals. Ehlers, who recently stated there has been no contract discussion with Jets' GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, could indeed be on the trade block if talks remain stagnant.
Ehlers would command a significant return, potentially addressing Winnipeg's defensive issues. According to Money Puck, the Jets ended the playoffs with the worst expected goals against per 60 minutes, highlighting a clear need for defensive reinforcements. Ehlers could either bring in a strong defenseman or fetch assets to bolster both defense and offense.
From Winnipeg's perspective, Ryan Pulock of the Islanders is an ideal target. Pulock, a Grandview, Manitoba native, has deep playoff experience, plays significant minutes, and is effective on both power play and penalty kill. His $6.15 million salary is close to Ehlers' $6 million, making the trade financially feasible. However, the Islanders might not be eager to part with Pulock, who has a full no-trade clause until 2027-28 and has been vital to their defense.
Even if Pulock were to request a trade, the Islanders would face the challenge of replacing him. Potential replacements like Scott Mayfield come with their risks, especially given his injury history.
Speculating on the trade, if Pulock were open to it, Winnipeg might add defensemen like Dylan DeMelo or Ville Heinola, offering the Islanders options to fill Pulock's void. The Islanders could offer prospects like William Dufour or Matthew Maggio, roster players like Oliver Wahlstrom, or one of their 2024 second-round picks.
While it's intriguing to imagine an Ehlers-Pulock trade, it's unlikely due to Pulock's no-trade clause and the Islanders' reluctance to move him. For now, any Ehlers trade would probably involve different assets.
Source: The Hockey Writers
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Major trade proposal emerges trading Nikolaj Ehlers for top defenseman

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