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Ekholm avoids arbitration, signs with Predators

Wednesday, 07.09.2014 / 10:52 AM / NHL Free Agency 2014

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Ekholm avoids arbitration, signs with Predators
Mattias Ekholm avoided an arbitration hearing by signing a two-year, $2.075 million contract with the Nashville Predators on Wednesday.

Defenseman Mattias Ekholm avoided an arbitration hearing by signing a two-year, $2.075 million contract with the Nashville Predators on Wednesday.

Ekholm, 24, had one goal and eight assists in 62 games with the Predators last season, averaging 16:49 per game in ice time. He had 10 penalty minutes, making him one of six NHL defensemen to play at least 50 games and be assessed 10 or fewer penalty minutes.

A 2009 fourth-round pick (No. 102) of the Predators, Ekholm has nine points and a minus-10 rating in 65 NHL games in parts of three seasons, all with Nashville.

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[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday