Remember that whole arbitration thing with Mattias Ekholm? It, like his time in Milwaukee, are likely a thing of the past as the Nashville Predators signed the restricted free agent to a standard two-year, $2.075 million contract, worth $1,037,500 in both seasons.
Super exited to be back with @PredsNHL for at least the next couple of years! Cant wait for the season to start.
— Mattias Ekholm (@MatEkh14) July 9, 2014
Ekholm was part of a rookie triumvirate that made up the Predators blueline last year along with Seth Jones and fellow former Admirals defenseman Victor Bartley. In 2013-2014 Borlange, Sweden native’s dressed in 62 contests for Nashville, posting one goal and nine points along with a minus-eight rating.
One season prior Ekholm stood out along with Bartley on Milwaukee’s defense, scoring 10 goals and 32 points, along with a plus-15 rating in 59 games. He added one assist in the Admirals’ four-game series loss to top-seeded Texas. The former 2009 fourth-round pick also skated in two contests with the Predators back in 2011-2012, posting no points.
The new deal represents a modest bump up for Ekholm, and saves both the team and himself an arbitration hearing.
In a completely unrelated story, the AHL has announced the new divisional alignment for the 2014-2015 season. Much to the dismay of Milwaukee fans, the league also announced that the current playoff format would remain the same.
There were just a couple of minor changes to AHL landscape in regards to Milwaukee, as former Midwest Division foe Iowa moves into the West Division, Lake Erie takes over the Wild’s slot, while Adirondack (formerly Abbotsford) takes over the Monsters’ vacated position in the North Division.
For what it’s worth Lake Erie finished with eight more points (12th in the West at 32-33-1-10) than Iowa (27-36-7-6, 15th in the West) last season.
Here the new look AHL via the Official American Hockey League Fan Page on Facebook:
Even though his stint with the Admirals was brief, any favorite memories of Mattias Ekholm in Milwaukee? How do think Nashville and Milwaukee’s defense stacks up for next season? What do you think of the Midwest Division switch, adding Lake Erie and dropping Iowa?