First of all, no one on the Predators roster that is more underrated than Mattias Ekholm. The hardcore fans know he’s a workhorse, but it drops off after that. He’ll be more in the spotlight this season with Ellis out. He could start anywhere on this defense and make a good impact.
Ekholm is an advanced stats darling. He does things you don’t see on the stat sheet that help the Predators win night in and night out. He’s a magician on the breakout and he’s tremendous on the forecheck. He’ll need to keep up his play, and there’s no reason to think he won’t.
We’ll grow to appreciate Ekholm even more as he’ll have to elevate his game to keep the defense flowing. He’ll keep doing the dirty work, to keep the Predators running like a well-oiled machine. Expect at least 20 assists and over 25 points over the course of a full season. Ekholm is vital to the defense’s success.