Or it could be that at this point not even Ekholm knows what his value is so why not have someone help you out with it? I mean no offense the guy looks like he is going to be a really solid D, but what is that worth? He hasn't set the world on fire, but he has gotten better and did play better last season and looks as if he has room to grow. He's probably worth more than his QO, but how much more?
We always make it sound easy, just sign the guy!, but in reality there is a reason arbitration exists and tons of players use it.
I bet we sign him to a 2 year 1.75 per to see where he goes. I think that will take him to 25, which will be his last RFA year, could be wrong. That would be a great move on Poile's part, so we can see how Diaby/Dougherty/Ekholm develop.
Edit: The 2 year contract would take him to 26, so thats out. Shoot for a 1 year deal Poile or a long term, slightly above his current value, like 4 years at 2.9 or something