The Nashville Predators are blessed with a number of talented, well-known defensemen: Shea Weber and Roman Josi are garnering Norris Trophy consideration, while both Seth Jones and Ryan Ellis came to the NHL as familiar names to hockey fans across North America.
Tonight against the Montreal Canadiens, however, it was Mattias Ekholm’s time to shine. A rangy Swede in his second full NHL season, Ekholm has a strong pedigree of his own, having won Rookie of the Year and Defenseman of the Year honors in Sweden before crossing the Atlantic. With Carey Price working the longest shutout streak of his career, Ekholm picks up a puck at center ice, waits for his teammates to clear the zone, and attacks the net confidence.
Split the D, get hauled down, roof a shot from your knees to give your team the lead. Ekholm almost makes it look simple, doesn’t he?