As rumored, the Nashville Predators won the battle for Victor Ejdsell, beating out several other NHL teams in pursuit of the Swedish centerman. The team has signed him to a three-year entry-level contract. The 21-year old was the MVP of the Allsvenskan (Swedish second league) this season after scoring 57 points in 50 games.
Back at the end of April it was reported that the Detroit Red Wings were pursuing Ejdsell, and while he had visited the city to be wooed by the team, he eventually decided on Nashville. The Chicago Blackhawks were also linked to the Swedish forward, marking the second victory Nashville has over Chicago this spring.
Ejdsell is a big, big man (6’5″, 214-lbs) who has turned into a “strong two-way center” according to Red Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin. His NHL career may not start right away, as he has also signed on to play for HV71 this season. Another year (or two) of development for Ejdsell won’t hurt, but he is a big add to a growing Swedish contingent in Nashville. Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg, Calle Jarnkrok and Mattias Ekholm are all big parts of the Predators already, and Ejdsell will try to make an impact with that group within the next few years.
Nashville is turning into one of the premiere destinations in the NHL, with a rabid fan base and successful team. After their impressive playoff run this year, competing with more traditional hockey markets like Detroit and Chicago for international talent is a great sign for the team going forward. Ejdsell was one of the most interesting names in Sweden this year mostly because of his age and size. He’ll have to prove he can compete at the same level in the SHL where defenders are quicker and stronger, but it is a worthwhile gamble for the Predators.