With less than two months remaining until the NHL’s March 3 trade deadline, we’re bringing you one deadline-focused story each day at Daily Faceoff.

Today we’re going to focus on Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm, who was added to our Trade Targets board on Tuesday.



  • Defenseman, Nashville Predators
  • Shoots: Left
  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’4″ | Weight: 215 lbs
  • Cap Hit: $6.25 million AAV
  • Term: 3 seasons remaining
  • Trade Clauses: None
  • Stats: 37 GP, 4 goals, 10 assists, 14 points, 21:40 avg TOI
  • Career: 12th season (all with Nashville), 699 GP, 21:48 avg TOI


Archetype and Ideal Role

Defensive Defenseman, Middle Pair

Ekholm was not ranked inside the Top 20 of Daily Faceoff‘s “Shutdown Defenseman” Archetype Rankings, but did receive consideration. That puts him in the next rung down of “defensive defensemen.”

Scouting Report

Ekholm is smart and durable. Over the last eight seasons, Ekholm has missed a grand total of 19 games. Credit his smarts in that regard. He’s perceived as a physical defenseman, but he is more efficient than physical. Ekholm uses his brain to anticipate pressure and put himself in good positions to use his reach and length to defend and push the opposition to the outside.

Over the last two seasons, only Roman Josi has logged more minutes than Ekholm in Nashville. He starts the majority of his shifts in the defensive zones and ends them by getting pucks out and into the offensive zone, which is exactly what you want in a defensive defenseman. He does contribute offensively, doing well at getting shots through from the blueline, which create rebounds and second-chance opportunities for his teammates. He has 37 points in all situations over the last two seasons, which is 57th in the league over that span among defensemen. He keeps it simple and gives his more offensively gifted forwards a slightly better chance in the offensive zone.