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PREDATORS PLAN TO LOCK UP PAIR OF STARS LONG-TERM

APR 14, 2021  (11H04)      COOPER GODIN
The trade deadline has come and gone, and rather than selling, the Predators made a minor move acquiring depth defenceman Erik Gudbranson from the Ottawa Senators. About a month ago, it seemed like Nashville was willing to sell off some key assets, and potentially go through a retool, rather than a full blown rebuild. Instead, the team has won 13 of their last 16 games, and have jumped into the fourth and final playoff spot in the Discover Central division, and lead the fifth place Chicago Blackhawks by four points.

The recent success has led general manager David Poile to re-focus his efforts on signing a pair of star players to contract extensions. The two names Poile is keen on getting signed are Filip Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm, both of whom were in trade rumours for weeks leading up to the deadline.

Forsberg is currently out of the lineup with an upper-body injury but he was enjoying a strong season up until he got hurt. The Ostervala, Sweden native has 29 points (11 G, 18 A), 14 penalty minutes, and is a -8 in 34 games this season.

"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. "He'd be a very tough player to replace. 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 score 30 goals, but he's going to score 40 goals. So I would certainly like to have Filip be part of this future with the Predators."

Ekholm, 30, has been one of the Predators' most consistent defencemen over the last several years. In 38 games this season, the Borlange, Sweden native has tallied 17 points (5 G, 12 A), 6 penalty minutes, and is a +10.

"When I sit down with Ekholm in his exit meeting it will be to discuss his future, where is he at, how does he view our team, how does he view his game, where is he going, does he want to be part of this in the future, because he enters the last year of his contract, Poile said. That could go any way you want with this. It could lead to him playing out the year. It could lead to an extension, it could lead to all the rumors again about him being traded. I'm pretty sure I've never said a negative word about Mattias Ekholm in terms of his play or not ever wanting him to play for the Predators. We have to see what happens."

Both Forsberg and Ekholm have one year left on their current contracts, and are eligible to sign a contract extension when free agency opens on July 28th.

Another player David Poile wants to sign is Mikael Granlund. Granlund, 29, is currently in his second full season with Nashville after re-signing in the offseason to a one-year contract worth $3.75 million. In 40 games this season, he's recorded 18 points (11 G, 7 A), 8 penalty minutes, and is a -2.

"Certainly a lot of teams would have liked to get Mikael Granlund for their playoff opportunities," Poile said. "But I think he's helping what's turned our team around, our chemistry, our belief, our identity. When the season is over, I'm actually going to go to him and see whether he wants to stay here and sign here to play with the Predators versus being an unrestricted free agent. It may happen, it may not happen, but I think he's that important, and it didn't make any sense at this time to trade him."

Source: NHL
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NHL STATS
SEASON
2020-2021GPGAPTS
CONNOR MCDAVID
533268100
LEON DRAISAITL
53304979
BRAD MARCHAND
52283967
MITCH MARNER
54204767
PATRICK KANE
+2
55155166
NATHAN MACKINNON
47204565
AUSTON MATTHEWS
50402565
SIDNEY CROSBY
55243862
MIKKO RANTANEN
49303161
JONATHAN HUBERDEAU
55204161
MARK STONE
53213960
ARTEMI PANARIN
42174158
MARK SCHEIFELE
53203858
ALEKSANDER BARKOV
49263157
SEBASTIAN AHO
55243357
JAKE GUENTZEL
56233457
ALEX DEBRINCAT
+2
51312354
NICKLAS BACKSTROM
54153853
MAX PACIORETTY
48242751
DAVID PERRON
53163551
  COMPLETE STATS
NHL STATS
YESTERDAY
MAY 9, 2021 G A PTS
JOHNNY GAUDREAU
1 2 3
MATTHEW TKACHUK
1 2 3
ALEX DEBRINCAT
2 - 2
MARK GIORDANO
1 1 2
BRANDON HAGEL
1 1 2
PATRICK KANE
- 2 2
MIKAEL BACKLUND
1 - 1
DILLON DUBE
1 - 1
MACKENZIE ENTWISTLE
1 - 1
DENIS GURIANOV
1 - 1
  COMPLETE RESULTS