2016 World Cup of Hockey rosters: Mattias Ekholm misses out on initial call from Sweden
It's not a surprise, but the Nashville defender has at least grown his stock over the past few years.
Mattias Ekholm should probably be on Sweden's roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Maybe not as a mainstay, but certainly as an extra skater in case of injury or unforeseen circumstance. But that blue line is stacked with talent, especially on the left side, and it's hard to argue against his exclusion at this time.
Viktor Hedman is a no brainer. Niklas Hjalmarsson is a big part of Chicago's defense corps and has three Stanley Cup rings to his resume on top of his Olympic experience. Anton Stralman is also more experienced than Ekholm, both in the NHL and international play.
The inclusion of Niklas Kronwall over John Klingberg show that the minds behind the roster construction are opting to go with experience over flash. Klingberg has certainly proven that he'll be a legit defender in the National Hockey League, but a 24-year-old with barely 150 games of play may not sit well with Sweden.
The good news, both for Ekholm and Klingberg, is there is still time to get a phone call. This is just the initial 16 names to a 23-man roster. With seven spots still to be decided (six if you consider a goalie will likely be one of those), the song isn't over yet.
Ekholm has quickly become one of the most reliable defensemen on Nashville's roster, which is no small feat considering the players that grace it. Ironically, Ekholm's quiet and steady style of play may ultimately be his undoing on this one. If he doesn't ever get named to the roster, he'll still remain one of the Predators' best kept secrets.