The Nashville Predators spent much of the offseason shifting around pieces and saying goodbye to core contributors from their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017. Thankfully, one of those bigger names looks like he’s here to stay. After much discussion during the 2020-21 season about whether Mattias Ekholm might be traded, rumors of interest from numerous parties, and a subsequent turn in the other direction following the Ryan Ellis trade, David Poile and No. 14 have finally agreed to a new deal.
Hearing NASH gets a key piece of business done. Mattias Ekholm re-signing at 4 years, $6.25M AAV (not $6.35)— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 13, 2021
This solidifies Nashville’s future on the blue line in the face of some uncertainty (Dante Fabbro, Phil Myers, and other less established players like David Farrance and Alexandre Carrier are essentially unknown quantities), and it comes at a team-friendly price. Evolving-Hockey.com’s contract projections put Ekholm at five years and $6.73 million AAV, so the reduced term and pay are a bit surprising. If anything, it’s further proof of concept that the people who grow within the Predators’ franchise are legitimately committed to staying in Nashville, even if it’s for a cheaper price; we saw this with Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, and other members of this group.
Ekholm is coming off of another strong season where he played like a top-pair defender after recovering from an injury. To lock him down for this price leaves the Predators with $9,573,858 in cap space (via CapFriendly.com), plenty to make further moves should this team produce a surprising run to the postseason.