Preds Assign Ryan Ellis To Milwaukee
Monday, 10.3.2011 / 3:42 PM CT / Training Camp Central
-Roster now sits at 26 -
|Ellis’s assignment to Milwaukee is by no means an indictment on his performance during training camp, nor a negative in the eyes of the Preds brass. At the on-set of camp the coaches felt they had a strong top-four in Suter-Weber and Blum-Klein with Francis Bouillon entering into that group when healthy. Teemu Laakso, with three previous years of AHL experience, looked every bit the part of a steady NHL-ready defensive defenseman. Mattias Ekholm, coming off a standout pro season in Sweden last year, turned heads with his skating and poise. Ekholm also showed the ability to effectively man the point on the power-play. And veteran Jack Hillen, with 175 games of NHL experience under his belt, picked up the Preds system quickly and didn’t provide the younger defensemen any opening to steal a roster spot away from him.
Ellis was poised with the puck and didn’t do anything to reduce the organization’s long-term plans for him. Each preseason game he continued to get better and look more comfortable with the pro game. But the Preds have a long-standing mantra “the road to Nashville goes through Milwaukee,” so Ellis, much like Jonathon Blum last year and Kevin Klein, Ryan Suter and Shea Weber during their first pro seasons, will open the season in Milwaukee. Ellis looked his best during Saturday night’s preseason finale; if that is any indicator, he should be able to step into a top-pairing role with the Admirals from Game 1 and will likely play big minutes every night, which actually may be better for his development than seeing limited third pairing ice time in the NHL. If Ellis shines in the AHL this season, there’s every reason to believe he can earn his way to Nashville and potentially make a late season impact on the Preds blueline, much like Blum did last season.
--Jay Levin, NashvillePredators.com
Ellis, 20 (1/3/91), posted one assist and a +3 rating while suiting up for five of Nashville’s 2011 preseason contests.
The transactions leave Nashville’s Training Camp roster at 26 players – 16 forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders. Players by position currently participating in camp are as follows:
FORWARDS (16): Niclas Bergfors, Martin Erat, Mike Fisher, Blake Geoffrion, Matt Halischuk, Patric Hornqvist, Sergei Kostitsyn, David Legwand, Cal O'Reilly, Craig Smith, Jerred Smithson, Nick Spaling, Zack Stortini, Jordin Tootoo, Colin Wilson and Kyle Wilson
DEFENSEMEN (8): Teemu Laakso, Jonathon Blum, Francis Bouillon, Mattias Ekholm, Jack Hillen, Kevin Klein, Ryan Suter and Shea Weber
GOALTENDERS (2): Anders Lindback and Pekka Rinne.
The Nashville Predators closed out their eight-game preseason with a record of 7-1-0, culminating with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Games start counting on Friday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 8 with back-to-back road contests to open the 2011-12 regular season against Central Division foes Columbus (7 p.m. CT, FOX Sports Tennessee) and St. Louis (7 p.m. CT, FOX Sports Tennessee). The Preds home opener comes the following Thursday, Oct. 13 when the Phoenix Coyotes come to Smashville (7 p.m. on SportSouth).