Preds sign d-man Ekholm to six-year extension

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The NHL’s defenseman factory, a.k.a. the Nashville Predators, has locked up 25-year-old blue-liner Mattias Ekholm all the way through 2021-22.

The Preds announced today that Ekholm has signed a six-year extension worth $22.5 million, for a cap hit of $3.75 million.

Ekholm was drafted 102nd overall by the Preds in 2009. He was developed patiently, staying in Sweden for a couple of years and then spending one season in the AHL. Today, he’s a trusted member of the Preds’ outstanding defensive corps.

“Defensively, he’s solid,” said coach Peter Laviolette. “Offensively, he moves the puck well. He skates well, he contributes in the offensive zone, he helps out on the power play, penalty kill, and he’s been a real strong player for us.”

The Preds now have four d-men signed through at least 2018-19, the other three being Shea Weber, Roman Josi and Ekholm’s regular defensive partner, Ryan Ellis.

Seth Jones is a pending restricted free agent.

Given the demand for top-four defensemen around the NHL, one does have to wonder if the Preds might eventually look to trade one of theirs, but for now they’ll enjoy what they’ve got.