The Nashville Predators traded winger Pontus Aberg to the Edmonton Oilers for center Mark Letestu and then immediately flipped Letestu to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 2018 fourth-round pick, according to Pierre LeBrun.
Letestu return to Columbus where he played for four years before signing with the Oilers in 2015. The bottom-six center fills a depth need at center as Columbus has struggled at the position with injuries, but also as a special teamer. He is an excellent penalty killer. In 60 games this season, the 33-year-old Letestu has eight goals and 11 assists and a minus-17 plus/minus ratio. He had a big year last year when he scored 16 goals for the playoff-bound Oilers.
The Oilers added a young scoring forward Aberg, who has had trouble breaking into the Predators’ lineup. The former second-round pick in the 2012 draft has been in and out of the lineup, often as a healthy scratch and has appeared in just 37 games with just two goals and six assists to show for it. He did make a name for himself during the Predators playoff run last year when he had to fill in due to injuries and scored two goals and three assists in 16 games.
For Nashville, the move is essentially a roster dump as the team is likely trying to clear a roster spot to eventually add 2017 first-rounder Eeli Tolvanen when his season is over when his KHL team has been eliminated from the playoffs. The Predators are also likely to bring in veteran Mike Fisher back as well, so roster space was needed.