SUNRISE, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Mattias Ekholm #42 assists goaltender Atte Engren #36 of the Nashville Predators defend the net against a shot by the Florida Panthers on September 19, 2011 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Word comes this morning from Eurosport that Nashville Predators prospect Mattias Ekholm, a 4th-round draft pick by Nashville in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, has won the Borje Salming Award as the top defenseman in the Swedish Elite League.
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In the article, Salming, who was legendary for paving the way for Swedish players coming over to the NHL, notes how glad he was to see this trophy go to a player for Brynäs, the club he played for from 1970-73. Head over to Wikipedia for a list of previous winners.
Ekholm, whose play back in October with the Predators was described as "horrible, absolutely horrible" by Barry Trotz, has rebounded with another strong campaign in Sweden, even though his assist totals took a dip. The story we're going to watch, of course, is whether his defensive game has solidified enough to make a better impression on Trotz this fall.