The Nashville Predators have re-signed veteran defenceman Mattias Ekholm to a four-year deal with an AAV of $6.25 million. His contract will now extend beyond this year, when his previous deal was due to expire, and through 2025-26. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman broke the story via Twitter.
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
Predators Have Re-Signed Mattias Ekholm
On Wednesday, Ekholm signed his fourth contract with the Predators, which will have him set to play in Nashville until he’s 36 years old. As such, the deal sets him up as a potential one-club player.
Originally drafted 102nd overall in 2009, in the same round as David Savard, Sami Vatanen and Ben Chiarot, Ekholm has proven to be an excellent mid-round find. Overall he has scored 51 goals and 219 points in 586 games and registered 442 hits and 744 blocks. The Swedish native also received Norris votes during the 2018-19 season, where the Predators finished top of the Central Division.
What This Means Moving Forward
It’s fair to say that this deal is probably not in line with the actions of a team in need of a rebuild. And considering the Predators lost longstanding veterans, Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Ellis in the offseason, the feeling was that the franchise was on the verge of a strip-down. Signing a 31-year-old defenceman to another four-year deal goes against the grain of that blueprint.
What is likely though, is that Nashville is making a statement of intent here. With Filip Forsberg‘s contract due to expire at the end of this season, general manager David Poile will be desperate to demonstrate his belief in his team’s potential. Perhaps he feels that Nashville can go through something similar to the New York Rangers‘ rebuild and remain competitive in the process.
All that said, Ekholm will provide a much-needed veteran presence for newcomer Philippe Myers and third-year Dante Fabbro. The Predators acquired Myers as part of the Flyers trade for Ryan Ellis. He has partnered with Ekholm during the preseason.