Nashville Predators: The Top-10 Franchise Players Over Last Decade

Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber (6) against the San Jose Sharks in game four of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber (6) against the San Jose Sharks in game four of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators
Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

#6: Mattias Ekholm

There’s no way I was leaving Ekholm off of this list. We’re talking about a franchise that has built itself off of great defensemen and sturdy goaltending, and Ekholm has played a huge role in that foundation.

Ekholm’s importance to the Nashville Predators can be considered vastly underrated among casual fans. That’s perfectly understandable because he’s not the flashy, superstar type of player like Roman Josi and Shea Weber. A little teaser there.

However, Ekholm is that steady and consistent performer that every team’s blueline needs.

The Predators brass has been wise over the years to work out new contracts for Ekholm, including what turned out to be a massive bargain in 2015 for six years and just $3.75M AAV. That worked out beautifully for the front office.

Ekholm just signed another contract less than a year ago, and now he’s going into the first season of that deal in 2022-23 that rides until 2026. A lot of confidence from the organiation for Ekholm, and rightfully so.

Ekholm is a true two-way defenseman. He provides positive output on both ends of the ice, and has the intangibles as well. He usually can be counted on to make the smart decision in critical moments, and although it hasn’t been all smooth sailing, he’s without a doubt been a excellent defenseman and among some of the best for this franchise who has had a lot of them.

If Ekholm plays through his current contract to 2026, then he can become 2nd in team history in games played. He’s already sits in sixth place with 662 career games and will pass Pekka Rinne and Martin Erat if he stays mostly healhty this season. He even has an outside chance to pass David Legwand eventually, and only trail Josi on the all-time list.