Mattias Ekholm
Image: NHL

Mattias Ekholm


Borlange Sweden

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4th round (102nd overall), 2009


194 lbs.

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2008-09: Mattias Ekholm split the season between Mora's men's team in Allsvenskan (Sweden's second league) and the club's U20 squad. In 38 games in Allsvenskan he scored 2 goals with 11 assists and was +7 with 12 PMs. Mora finished fourth in the 16-team league but did not gain elevation to the Elitserien. In 21 junior games he scored 3 goals with 5 assists and had 32 PMs. Not among the 30 skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings, Ekholm was selected by Nashville in the fourth round (102nd overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft.

2009-10: Ekholm showed continued improvement in his second season in the Swedish Allsvenskan league. Always a solid producer, Ekholm had one goal and 21 assists in 41 games. However, Ekholm was very solid defensively, especially considering his age (19). Ekholm played in that same style at the World Junior Championships, scoring a goal as his only point in six games, but tying for the tournament lead with a plus/minus rating of +10.

2010-11: Mattias Ekholm was the leading scorer amongst defensemen as a rookie for Brynas in Sweden's Elitserien. He scored 10 goals with 23 assists in 55 games and was plus-10 with 33 penalty minutes. Brynas finished seventh in the 12-team league and lost to eventual champion Farjestads in the playoff quarterfinals. Ekholm had 4 assists and was minus-three with 10 penalty minutes in five playoff games. Ekhlolm signed a three-year entry-level contract with Nashville in May 2011.

2011-12: Ekholm made his NHL debut – opening the season with the Pedators and appearing in two games – before returning to Sweden to skate for Brynas. He was scoreless and minus-1; averaging 12:25 of ice time with Nashville. Back in Sweden, he scored 9 goals with 8 assists and was plus-1 with 55 penalty minutes in 41 games for Brynas. Six of his nine goals were scored on the power play. After finishing fourth, Brynas won the Elitserien playoff championship. Ekholm shared the scoring lead amongst all playoff defensemen with AIK's Josh McNevin, finishing with 9 points in 17 games. He scored 1 goal with 8 assists and was plus-six with 12 penalty minutes.

2012-13: Budish signed a two-year entry-level contract with Nashville in April and made his pro hockey debut with AHL Milwaukee following his senior season at Minnesota. He played nine regular season games with the Admirals and three games in the playoff series against Texas. Budish scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was +6 with 2 penalty minutes. He was a team captain for Minnesota as the Gophers tied for first in the WCHA in their final season before heading to the new Big Ten Conference. Frequently teamed with center Erik Haula (Minn),Budish scored 14 goals with 22 assists in 40 games and was +17 with 14 penalty minutes. The Gophers lost to Colorado College in the WCHA semifinals and fell 3-2 in overtime to eventual national champion Yale in the NCAA West Regional semifinals.


Talent Analysis

Ekholm has good two-way ability with decent overall mobility. The puck moving defender makes the simple and smart passes to get out of his zone. He has good hockey sense, plays with poise and patience while possessing a heavy shot. The big defender needs to work on his physical game while improving his reverse pivots and angling techniques. He still has to adjust to the smaller ice surface, speed and size at the AHL in order to make the jump to the NHL.



Ekholm had a very good rookie season with the Milwaukee Admirals and because of that he saw his stock rise. He made the Nashville Predators team out of camp for 2013-14 and figures as a reliable bottom four and second power play unit defenseman moving forward.


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