NHL.com: Defenseman Ellis X-Factor for Predators

Sunday, 08.12.2012 / 5:37 PM / Features

Ryan Suter's departure for the Minnesota Wild leaves a gaping hole on the Nashville Predators' blue line, and the team will attempt to fill it internally.

All indications are that Roman Josi will get the first crack at skating alongside captain Shea Weber, but it is also possible the job will one day belong to Ryan Ellis.

The 21-year-old got his first taste of the NHL last season, when he tallied three goals and eight assists in 32 games after 18 points in 29 American Hockey League contests prompted a promotion from Milwaukee. Ellis also appeared in three Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Predators, who were ousted in the second round by the Phoenix Coyotes.

"I was able to play in a handful of games," Ellis told NHL.com. "It was nice to kind of get my feet wet and see what it's all about. The season ended before we wanted it to, but it was nice to get that experience. I'm looking forward to having a strong camp and contributing more."

He may not receive as many minutes as Suter did last season (Suter led the Predators by averaging 26:30 per game), but Ellis -- who averaged less than 15 minutes per contest -- will have to shoulder more of the load. He's certainly capable in the offensive end when you consider the Hamilton, Ontario, native scored 101 points (24 goals, 77 assists) in 58 games for the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League in 2010-11, his final season of junior hockey. He was named Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year and CHL Defenseman of the Year.

"I think everyone is going to have to chip in more," Ellis told NHL.com when asked about potentially filling the void left by Suter's departure. "It's going to have to be done by committee. He's such a great player that we're all going to have to step it up."

Ellis' booming shot from the point and his ability to quarterback the power play will serve the Predators well in 2012-13. Though it would be a thrill to be able skate alongside Weber, he and Ellis shoot right-handed. It's more likely Ellis will be paired with veteran Hal Gill, who signed a two-year contract in late June.

"It would be awesome (to play with Weber), but since we're both right-handed, one of us would have to play the left side," Ellis said. "I'm just glad he's coming back because he's a world-class player. A guy like that is crucial to our success."

Ellis also will be crucial to Nashville's success this season. One positive he can take from last season is that he already has some experience skating alongside Gill.

"We obviously play two different styles of games," Ellis told the team's website of the 37-year-old when they were paired late last season. "He obviously deals one way with the speedy guys and I have to deal another way with the bigger guys. We've talked about a few different things and just how to kind of push guys off balance and whatnot, which is kind of big for me to kind of win those battles."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

Author: Brian Compton | NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

In order to view this page you need JavaScript and Flash Player 9+ support!

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

nashvillepredators.com is the official Web site of the Nashville Predators and nashvillepredators.com are trademarks of the Nashville Predators.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Nashville Predators and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

NHL Ticket Exchange | Bridgestone Arena | Contact Us | Employment | NHL.com Terms of Use | Site Map | AdChoices