The Edmonton Oilers have traded centre Mark Letestu to the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Pontus Aberg, the team announced Sunday.
The Predators subsequently flipped Letestu to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a fourth-round draft pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
This sets the veteran centre up to return to the team he spent four seasons with. Letestu had spent 220 games with Edmonton, but he’s skated 233 games with Columbus.
The pivot has eight goals and 19 assists this season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He’s been a fixture on special teams for Edmonton, with 2:17 of power play time per game and some penalty kill contributions worth noting.
The Blue Jackets put Jussi Jokinen on waivers, which all but cements Letestu as the fourth-line centre.
Losing him will hurt for the Oilers, but the playoff dream is over and there’s an awful lot of tinkering to do in the off-season. Edmonton has to find itself somewhere in the margins and that could amount to some significant changes in the summer.
24-year-old Aberg has two goals and six assists this season. The Swedish winger has a year to go on his entry level deal, which earns him $650,000 a season.
It’s possible that Aberg earns more ice time in Edmonton, which will only help his fortunes. He could find his footing with the Oilers after struggling to find minutes in Nashville.
Aberg should help the Oilers in transition scoring and could chip in offensively.