Predators GM intent on re-signing Ekholm, Forsberg
Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm and sniper Filip Forsberg will each become unrestricted free agents after next season, but general manager Dave Poile is keen on locking up the pair of blue-chip talents.
Ekholm - who was the subject of trade rumors leading up to Monday's deadline - has played all 10 of his NHL seasons with the Predators, and Poile said the door will be open for the blue-liner to ink an extension.
"His name got thrown out there a lot in trade baits and different things," Poile said Monday, according to The Athletic's Adam Vingan. "My next conversation with Mattias will be after this year about how he thinks he fits into the future of this hockey club and whether he would like to be here longer, not whether we want to trade him."
Ekholm, 30, has contributed five goals and 17 points while logging 22:44 of average ice over 36 games this season.
Poile also discussed the future of Forsberg - one of the Predators' perennial goalscorers - and the GM understands how critical it is to keep the talented Swede around.
"We should sit down and see what he thinks about his future here and see if there's an opportunity to extend him," Poile said Tuesday, according to NHL.com.
Forsberg has hit the 25-goal mark five times for the Predators and has amassed 382 points through 492 games with the club. He's been out of the lineup since March 25 with an upper-body injury.
"He'd be a very tough player to replace," Poile said. "I think he's just coming into his prime. These are his best years, and I still see the day when Filip is not just going to just score 30 goals, but he's going to score 40 goals."
The Predators have won 10 of their last 12 outings to catapult back into a playoff position after a sluggish start to the campaign.