Ekholm must really, really like us because he just signed a six-year, $22.5M contract extension with the Nashville Predators organization. That’s huge, people. Mattias Ekholm is one of those players that shies away from the limelight, yet makes a significant impact that, without him, the Predators would be essentially up the creek without a paddle. At just 25-years-old, Ekholm has more than enough “hitch in his giddy-up” to extend the life of best defense in the league.
From the official presser released by the Predators:
Nashville, Tenn. (October 26, 2014) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Monday that restricted free agent defenseman Mattias Ekholm has signed a six-year, $22.5 million contract that carries an average annual value of $3.75 million.
Ekholm, 25 (5/24/90), has a goal and two assists in seven games in 2015-16, giving him 30 points (9g-21a) and 66 penalty minutes in 152 career games since the 2011-12 season. In his second full NHL campaign in 2014-15, the Borlange, Sweden, native doubled his rookie point total (7g-11a-18pts from 1g-8a-9pts), improved plus/minus rating by 20 points (+12 from -8) and increased his average ice time by more than two minutes (19:00 from 16:49). The 6-4, 215-pound blueliner also made his postseason debut last spring, suiting up for all six of Nashville’s Stanley Cup Playoff contests (+4), tying for the team lead in plus/minus rating and averaging 26:24 of ice time.
Nashville’s seventh choice, 102nd overall (fourth round), in the 2009 Entry Draft, Ekholm has represented Sweden in the past two World Championships, helping the Tre Kronor to a bronze medal in 2014, being named one of the nation’s three best players after tying for second (with Predators teammate Roman Josi) among tournament defensemen in points (2g-5a-7pts), while leading all Swedish skaters in average ice time (21:56). He also earned a bronze medal at the 2010 World Junior Championship, tying for the tournament lead with a +10 rating, and helped the Tre Kronor win the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.