The Nashville Predators still managed to win the Presidents’ Trophy despite not having Ryan Ellis for nearly half of the regular season.
It’s a testament to how much depth the Nashville Predators have when you see what they accomplished without Ryan Ellis for the first half of the regular season. Ellis made his return to the lineup in a January 2nd loss to Las Vegas.
You can’t help but wonder what Ellis regular season totals would be if not for missing 38 games. His 32 points in 44 games is efficient work and clearly indicates he remains one of the top players on this team.
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I’m really encouraged by how Ellis returned from his injury. He’s a big part of this team’s future and should be in consideration of being a future captain. His intangibles can’t be measured, and you can never have too many players like Ellis on your roster. Let’s hope the Predators can get him a contract extension soon. He wants to stay in Nashville, per his interview from 102.5 The Game shortly after the playoff elimination:
Ellis’ leadership grows
My top reason for why Ellis is so valuable is his leadership skills. He’s not afraid to answer the tough questions and hold his teammates accountable. Just look back on what he had to say after the Predators’ epic collapse in a playoff game loss to Winnipeg. I really like that quality in certain players, and Ellis is that perfect guy.
Ellis is just 27 years old. His best days are ahead of him as a top-tier NHL defenseman. However, how Ellis handled his injury and recovery moved him up even higher. It’s my belief that Ellis could have come back a little sooner, but the team handled it the right way by making 100 percent certain he was fully healthy. Ellis handled the situation like a true professional and like a future captain.
Next season will be an interesting one for Ellis as he’ll hopefully play from start to finish. He may not be the captain over Roman Josi, but he’s fully deserving of it. Ellis’ 2017-18 season was too short, but his growth as a leader really sticks out for me. If you enjoy reading things from The Players’ Tribune, check out Ellis’ own words about sticking up for Pekka Rinne. This is what a great leader looks like to me.
Ellis on the power play
We all know about Ellis’ cannon on the power play. You set him up for that lethal one-timer and watch it fly. Ellis did tally another two power-play goals in his 44-game season. He’s a huge threat on the power play and I do think the Predators sorely missed his services at the beginning of the season.
Ellis showed really no decline in his production on the power play, where he’s most valuable. His 49 shot attempts and 27 shots on goal with the man advantage is efficient work. In an 82-game slate, those numbers would end up being very solid. Also, his CorsiFor percentage of 92.06 is a new career-high for him when his team has the man advantage.
Although in limited action, Ellis continued to show he’s a player the Predators need to figure out a way to keep after next season. There’s no reason after his performance in the second half of the season to think that he won’t continue trending upward. My main reasoning for that is how he keeps getting better on the power play.
It’s hard to get too high or too low on Ellis’ abbreviated season. You can only speculate about how his season would have rounded out with a full 82 games. However, there’s no indication from his 44 games to think he’s declining or is plateauing. He should keep rising, which is why the Predators have to get this contract extension to him this summer.
I’m giving Ellis a conservative, but solid grade for his shortened season. Mainly due to his leadership qualities, and how he really didn’t miss a beat once he did return. His first goal of the season comes in just his second game back, and the month of March was his best stretch of hockey. The future is still very bright for the 27-year-old that wants to retire in a Predators uniform. Season grade: B+