Banking on the blueline: Preds sign Mattias Ekholm
- Updated: May 12, 2011
Although today might be the first time you have ever heard his name, Ekholm is far from a nobody from the Swedish Elite League. At 6’3”, 204 pounds (and having apparently gained 10 pounds since someone last updated the prospects page on nashvillepredators.com), he might just be the guy to fill a defensive void if one should open up. The Predators will undoubtedly push their salary cap to keep RFA Weber on July 1st, but who knows if the team will shell out the cash to keep UFA bruiser Shane O’Brien, whose post-season penalties caused a lot of grief and a lot of power play goals for Anaheim. In signing Ekholm, the Preds may have anticipated to fill a space in Milwaukee to bring up another defensemen with some North American hockey experience under his belt (Josi, please please please please please) for the 2011-2012 season.
Ekholm was drafted 102nd overall in the 2009 NHL Entry draft, the same draft the Preds selected Ryan Ellis 10th overall. With picks like Weber, Suter, Ellis, and Blum, the Preds know a thing or two about drafting defensemen. So don’t let the lateness of his pick fool you (need I remind you of Mr. Irrelevant, Sir Patric Hornqvist?). Ekholm was named the 2010-2011 Elitserien Rookie of the Year over the current number one European draft prospect, Adam Larsson, and Red Wings’ pride and joy and Brynas teammate, Calle Jarnkrok.
Who knows when or if Preds fans will get to see Ekholm in Nashville next season, but he’s certainly not a bad guy to have in our utility belt. And although the blueline in Milwaukee is getting a little crowded, surely this rookie of the year will be a welcome addition to the team.