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In this edition of the hotstove we discuss whether or not Mattias Ekholm is worth the six-year, $22.5 million ($3.75M per) extension he signed with the Nashville Predators.
I think this contract will be a real good value deal for the Predators.
Ekholm is very solid defensively, makes a good first pass and is excellent in possession. Since the beginning of the 2013-14 season Ekholm is a 53.4 possession player at even-strength, which leads all Preds' blue liners.
He's not a big point producer but he can log a good chunk of minutes, drive play in the right direction and good things tend to happen when he's on the ice.
It's probably safe to say this contract will provide the Predators with at worst fair value and there's a good chance Ekholm outperforms his deal.
I am always a huge fan of these kind of contracts because you get to lock up a young player for what are probably going to be his best years.
Based on what he's shown so far, this is a more than fair salary for him, and if he for whatever reason fails to live up to it, it's a decent enough number that another team would probably bank on his talent to try and risk taking him on.
Plus, these deals only get cheaper as time goes on. If He is a decent second pairing player and you've got him for his prime at under 4 million that is a steal. Worst case scenario, he's an expensive but useful third pairing guy. Plus, how long until anyone not on an ECL just makes 3.5 anyways? I'd be less than the length of this contract.
Good deal for the preds.
Nice player. I'll use Chicago's Niklas Hjalmarsson as a comparator. Similar size, very similar HERO numbers (although Ekholm has a bit more offensively to his game, and Hjalmarsson is a bit more physical). When Chicago signed Hjalmarsson a couple of years ago at $4.1 million per, it was lauded as a huge steal. And it has proven to be exactly that.
With this deal, the Preds get a combination of two critical things every GM should want in every deal they sign with a key player—reasonably affordable cost certainty on a player with upside. Ekholm can (and likely will) get better. The Preds might have the best defense in hockey today and this move fortifies that possibility for the next several seasons.
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