The Nashville Predators roster appears set for the 2014-2015 season, but the club still needs to lock up a portion of their defensive corps.
Currently, defenseman Ryan Ellis remains unsigned as a restricted free agent (RFA), although a deal is likely coming soon. The 23-year-old is coming off his first “full” season with Nashville, where he played 80 games and lit the lamp six times. Ellis should receive power play time and a third-pair role with Mattias Ekholm in the upcoming campaign, assuming a deal gets done.
Prior to the final contest of last season, Ellis expressed his desire to remain in the Music City, so inking the extension seems to be predominately a formality–but still one that needs to take place.
Ryan Ellis: “I love it here in Nashville, and I certainly hope I can get re-signed this summer.” #Preds
— Predlines.com (@PredlinesNSH) April 12, 2014
Ellis took a large step forward last campaign, and moved away from being the “defensive-liability” that he had been labeled earlier in his career.
“I think being too offensive was one of the knocks against me you could say. They would always say that I wasn’t that strong defensively,” Ellis said earlier this year. “I think hard work was the main thing that got me to that next level. Just coming in every day and keeping things simple. And really, coach Housley has helped with my vision on the ice.”
Nashville head coach Peter Laviolette has mentioned he will want his defense to activate and join the rush when possible and that type of style excites the young blueliner. Ellis has been an offensive threat from the back end at several different levels of hockey in his career, and he hopes he can continue to contribute in a larger way starting this fall.
But all that depends on Ellis inking a deal in the next couple weeks and on that we continue to wait.