Nashville Predators: 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Projections-Part 1

Nashville Predators players celebrate after the game-winning goal by Nashville Predators left wing Erik Haula (56) in overtime against the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators players celebrate after the game-winning goal by Nashville Predators left wing Erik Haula (56) in overtime against the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nashville Predators (Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
Nashville Predators (Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) /

MATTIAS EKHOLM (D)

2020/2021 Totals: 6 Goals, 17 Assists, 23 Points in 48 Games Played

There is no better analogy to equate to Mattias Ekholm’s 2020/21 season other than it was a roller coaster emotionally, and on the ice for the 11-year veteran.

The wild trade speculation surrounding him due to the Predators disastrous start, combined with being counted on at times as the team’s top defenseman due to injuries, Ekholm at times had the weight of the world, and the team on his shoulders.

If there was one guy the team rallied around in order not to have to move him at the trade deadline it was the steady presence of Ekholm that helped steer the ship in turning around the Predators season, and like Filip Forsberg, he enters a contract year.

The team first, undervalued but greatly appreciated Ekholm will be relied upon for a variety of reasons in 2021-22.

As it pertains to fantasy value, however, Ekholm is about as consistent as it gets. 30 to 35 points over a full 82-game season with a possible upside of 40 points if all goes well. Look for him as a depth defenseman option that will provide stability, power-play time, consistency on the scoresheet, and above all, health.

Ekholm has only missed 15 games due to injury since 2014-15, with eight of them coming last year. If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s seeing Ekholm’s name on the lineup card (Knocking on wood that it remains that way).

Again, in a contract year, the veteran D-man will look to do what he can to earn a sizeable raise on the $3.75 million he currently earns, and for fantasy owners of Ekholm, this could mean very good things.

2021/2022 Projection: 9 Goals, 28 Assists, 37 Points in 80 Games Played