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The injury parade continues; Klein out, Ekholm in…

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I’ve run out of words to describe this Nashville Predators season.

According to the Preds, defenseman Kevin Klein has been sidelined with an injury. The team has recalled blue chip prospect Mattias Ekholm from the Milwaukee Admirals as a result.

Klein wore the alternate captain’s “A” last night after Patric Hornqvist was shelved with an upper-body injury. Hornqvist, as it turns out, was wearing the letter after Mike Fisher was sidelined last week. Throw in Martin Erat getting traded on deadline day and the remaining healthy players may want to respectfully decline wearing the “A” for the rest of the season.

The 2009 fourth round pick of Nashville has had quite the young career. Not only has he won Defenseman of the Year (2012) and Rookie of the Year (2011) in the Swedish Elite League but he won a Elitserien Championship last season. He had a brief cup of coffee (where he did not impress) with the Predators in October of 2011 but, when reassigned to Milwaukee, opted to return to his native Sweden.

In North America full time this year, Ekholm has been solid. He’s the Admirals leading scorer among defenseman (27 points in 55 games) and has contributed six goals while on the power play.

There will now be seven players dressed in gold tonight who started the season with Milwaukee. Furthermore, Ekholm will become the 12th player to play for both the Predators and the Admirals since October of 2012.

A native of Borlange, Ekholm joins Filip Forsberg, Daniel Bang and an injured Hornqvist as Swedish players on the Predators roster. Patrick Cehlin and goaltender Magnus Hellberg are the only Swedes remaining in Milwaukee. Could they be next?

The official press release is below.

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Nashville, Tenn. (April 15, 2013) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has recalled defenseman Mattias Ekholm (mat-TEE-uhs EHK-hohlm) from Milwaukee (AHL) under emergency conditions. He will wear No. 42.

Ekholm, 22 (5/24/90), has 27 points (9g-18a) in 55 games for the Admirals in 2012-13, his first full North American campaign. The 6-4, 202-pound native of Borlange, Sweden began last season with the Predators – playing in two games – before returning to Brynas of the Swedish Elite League (Elitserien) where he won the 2012 Borje Salming Award as the league’s top defenseman, and helped Brynas claim the 2012 Le Mat Trophy as Elitserien champions.

Nashville’s seventh choice, 102nd overall (fourth round), in the 2009 Entry Draft, becomes the fifth member of the Preds ’09 draft class to play for the team this season, joining Gabriel Bourque, Ryan Ellis, Taylor Beck and Craig Smith.

The Predators face-off against the Vancouver Canucks tonight at 7 p.m. CT for a Ford Hometown Heroes Night. In conjunction with Ford Hometown Heroes Night, the team will give out several special military jerseys, presented by AvKare, to select members of the Armed Forces in attendance. Thanks to the generosity of Nashville Predators Season Ticket Holders who made donations towards military tickets, approximately 1,500 military members and their families will be in attendance. The remaining jerseys will be up for bid at the Nashville Predators Silent Auction Table. Proceeds from the jersey sales benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. After the game, several military families will have a meet and greet with the players. The game broadcasts on Fox Sports Tennessee (1675 HD, 28 SD) and 102.5 FM the Game. Limited tickets for the final Nashville Predators regular-season home game on April 23 vs. the Calgary Flames are still available and may be purchased at the Bridgestone Arena Box Office, by visiting nashvillepredators.com or by calling 615-770-7800.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Fuqua (used with permission)