26-Year-Old Defenseman – Nashville Predators
Mattias Ekholm Contract Information:
Signed a six-year, $22.5 million contract extension with the Predators in October of 2015.
Ekholm broke out offensively last season, potting eight goals to complement 27 assists over a full 82-game schedule. Still, Nashville's assistant coach Phil Housley expects the blueliner to take another step forward in the 2016-17 campaign.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Ekholm was a pleasant surprise for the Predators last season, doubling his offensive output from nine to 18 points over the season before. In addition, his average ice time jumped by over two minutes per game -- from 16:49 to 19:01 -- as he saw regular second-pairing duty alongside Ryan Ellis, and even saw second-line power-play duty, where he chipped in a goal and an assist. From a fantasy standpoint, you wonít necessarily win your league having Ekholm on your roster, but if youíre in a deep format, he might be worth a late-round pick. He figures to reprise a similar role on the Predsí blue line this season, which means you could see a further jump in his scoring totals.
Ekholm, who signed a two-year, $2.075 million contract with the Predators in July, recorded nine points in 62 games for the Preds as a rookie last season. He showed real scoring potential in the AHL two seasons ago (10 goals and 32 points in 59 games) and in Sweden back in 2010-11 (10 goals and 33 points in 55 games). But so far with the Preds, his role has been more of a stay-at-home defenseman. The Preds will continue to rely on guys like Shea Weber, Roman Josi and Seth Jones to jump in and join the rush, while Ekholm will focus mainly on keeping the puck out of his own net. Bottom line, there's not much fantasy potential here.