Mattias Ekholm

Mattias Ekholm

34-Year-Old DefensemanD
Edmonton Oilers
2023 Fantasy Outlook
Ekholm split 2022-23 between the Predators and the Oilers. He totaled 32 points in 78 contests, but 14 of those points came after a deadline deal sent him to Edmonton, where he provided the Oilers with needed defensive stability and a little scoring punch from the back end. The 33-year-old defenseman has topped 40 points just once in his career, and his power-play time is likely to be limited in 2023-24. However, he can probably more than make up for that while sharing ice with Edmonton's big-name forwards at even strength. Ekholm is a solid late-round depth blueliner in fantasy, especially in formats that count blocked shots. He had 104 blocks to go along with 91 hits last season. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a four-year, $25 million contract extension with the Predators in October of 2021. Traded to the Oilers in February of 2023.
Provides helper in win
DEdmonton Oilers
June 21, 2024
Ekholm notched an assist, two hits, two blocked shots and a plus-2 rating in Friday's 5-1 win over the Panthers in Game 6.
ANALYSIS
Ekholm has earned three points over six contests in the Stanley Cup Finals. The 34-year-old defenseman is up to 10 points, 41 shots on net, 28 hits, 44 blocks and a plus-9 rating through 24 outings this postseason. He remains a stalwart on the first pairing, though his commitment to defense has led to limited offense.
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NHL Stats
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2023 NHL Game Log
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2022 NHL Game Log
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2023–24 Time On Ice Stats
  • Average Time On Ice:
    21:03
  • Average Power Play TOI:
    0:52
  • Average Short-Handed TOI:
    2:02
 
Ice Time
Power Play
Short-Handed
2021–22
23:29
1:33
3:16
2022–23
20:47
0:38
2:11
2022–23
21:44
1:30
2:38
2023–24
21:03
0:52
2:02
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2022
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
Certainly more floor than ceiling from a fantasy perspective, Ekholm recently wrapped up yet another season in which he provided late-round value. He finished with 31 points in 76 games, the fourth time in the past five years he has posted 30-plus. Ekholm again averaged more than 23 minutes per game (23:39), although his four assists with the man advantage was unimpressive given his 1:33 worth of power-play time per contest. The presence of Roman Josi as the top Nashville blueliner essentially eliminates any chance Ekholm has of a significant bump in production, although that was unlikely anyway considering the Swede turned 32 years old this past May.
Ekholm was the subject of trade rumors throughout the course of the 2020-21 campaign, but Nashville held on to him in hopes of extending the Swede before his contract expires at the end of this coming year. On the ice, Ekholm posted six goals and 23 points in 48 games last year, marking the fourth straight season he's reached each of those totals. Ekholm doesn't possess league-winning upside and he's now 31 years of age, but there's mid-to-late round value in a defenseman that is a lock for about 35 points per year in addition to helping out a bit in both shots on goal and blocks. Don't sleep on Ekholm in fantasy leagues this coming campaign as his offensive role could increase a bit with long time- teammate Ryan Ellis having been traded to the Flyers.
Ekholm remained a solid, yet unexciting producer from an offensive standpoint in 2019-20, picking up eight goals, 25 helpers, five of which came on the power play, and 154 shots on goal while averaging 23:22 of ice time skating in a top four role over 68 contests. The 30-year-old Swede doesn't have a ton of upside, but he's notched at least eight goals and 33 points in three consecutive campaigns, and he's only missed four contests over that span, so although he may not be an exciting pick, he'll be a highly dependable option for fantasy managers looking to add a fourth or fifth defenseman in the later rounds of this year's drafts.
The left-handed defenseman was brilliant again in 2018-19, posting eight goals and 44 points while registering an impressive plus-27 rating, 47 PIM and 146 shots on net. His totals in the assists, points, plus-minus and shots on goal categories were all new career-bests. Ekholm has scored 18 goals over his last two seasons while registering a 6.4 shooting percentage. That's within one percent of his career average, which suggests he should be in line for another 8-to-10 goals in 2019-20, especially if he repeats his high shot volume. Ekholm should be good for another 35-to-40 points while registering a desirable plus-minus rating and 40-plus PIM in 2019-20, making him a fantastic No. 2 blue-line fantasy option.
With high-scoring studs like P.K. Subban, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis stealing most of the spotlight on the Predators blue line, it's easy to forget about a guy like Ekholm, who is more of a stay-at-home defenseman. That said, one should not discount his importance to the team on both ends of the ice. Offensively, Ekholm saw his output jump by 11 points last season (from 23 to 34), including a career-high 13 points on the power play. During the playoffs, he tied for fifth in team scoring with a goal and seven assists in 13 games. Defensively, he ranked third on the team in plus-minus (plus-24), second in blocked shots (117) and second among defensemen in takeaways (42). Ekholm is a steady, well-rounded blueliner who can do it all. He would be a steal as a mid- to late-round selection in your fantasy drafts this fall.
After taking a major step forward the previous season, it was one step back for Ekholm last year, as he followed up his career-high 35 points with a disappointing 23 in 2016-17. The dropoff is somewhat puzzling, as Ekholm saw increases in both overall ice time and power-play minutes while anchoring the Preds’ second defensive pairing alongside P.K. Subban, but he clearly took a back seat on offense to his new blue-line partner. Ekholm’s lack of improvement in shot volume despite the sharp increase in minutes is reflective of him assuming the stay-at-home side of the equation, letting Subban do most of the wheeling and dealing in the offensive zone. The 27-year-old Swede is likely to serve in the same role once again, limiting his ceiling to about 30 points, which makes him a back-end starter at best on most fantasy blue lines.
Ekholm took a strong step forward in his development last year, setting career highs in almost every major category, including points (35), plus-minus (plus-14), shots on goal (114) and average ice time (20:15). After spending two seasons in a third-pairing defensive role, Ekholm finally emerged as a guy the Preds could count on in a top-four capacity – one of the reasons why the team felt it could afford to trade Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen back in January. With Roman Josi and the newly acquired P.K. Subban expected to anchor the Preds’ top pairing, Ekholm isn’t likely to see another big jump in his numbers this season, but a repeat of last year’s stats shouldn’t be considered a disappointment.
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 won’t necessarily win your league having Ekholm on your roster, but if you’re in a deep format, he might be worth a late-round pick. He figures to reprise a similar role on the Preds’ 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.
More Fantasy News
Scores Edmonton's lone goal
DEdmonton Oilers
June 11, 2024
Ekholm opened the scoring in the first period of Monday's 4-1 loss to the Panthers in Game 2.
ANALYSIS
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Fills empty cage
DEdmonton Oilers
May 29, 2024
Ekholm scored an empty-net goal on three shots and went plus-3 in Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Stars in Game 4.
ANALYSIS
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Contributes assist in win
DEdmonton Oilers
May 14, 2024
Ekholm recorded an assist, four shots on goal, three blocked shots, two hits and a plus-2 rating in Tuesday's 3-2 win over the Canucks in Game 4.
ANALYSIS
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One of each Sunday
DEdmonton Oilers
May 12, 2024
Ekholm scored a power-play goal on four shots, dished an assist and added two PIM in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Canucks in Game 3.
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Tallies in Game 2
DEdmonton Oilers
May 10, 2024
Ekholm scored a goal on two shots and went plus-2 in Friday's 4-3 overtime win over the Canucks in Game 2.
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Latest Fantasy Rumors
Might miss season opener
DEdmonton Oilers
October 11, 2023
Ekholm, who has a hip flexor injury, stayed on the ice after Wednesday's practice, Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic reports, which might be an indication that he won't play this evening versus Vancouver.
ANALYSIS
Ekholm wasn't able to play in a preseason contest due to the hip flexor injury. He had nine goals and 32 points in 78 contests between Nashville and Edmonton in 2022-23. If Ekholm doesn't play Wednesday, then Philip Broberg might draw into the lineup.
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