5. Mattias Ekholm (2012-Current)
Mattias Ekholm begins our top-five list. The Predators selected Ekholm with the 102nd pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. Time really does fly by.
Ekholm, who has only played for the Predators in his NHL career, has racked up 196 points (45 goals, 151 assists) in 538 games. His career hits and blocks are 419 and 698, respectively. His teammates named him an alternate captain before the 2017-18 season.
Along with linemate Dante Fabbro, Ekholm leads the second defensive pairing and provides the Predators a solid defensive core and has a toughness factor to his game that’s hard to match.
While Ekholm did have a drop in production last season, he still held a Corsi rating of 50.4. Growing pains while acclimating to his new linemate in Fabbro may have contributed to his decline in numbers.
Ekholm is a tough defender and one of the few Predators who played a more physical game last season. At 30-years-old, he still has several years to continue to mold and shape his game, which is why he narrowly makes the top-five. More on that later.
Ekholm is on the cusp of regaining his form. Once next season starts and the Predators shift to a more defensive game, we’ll see Ekholm come into his own and have another strong season.