In 2018-19, Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis was able to play in his first full season and posted his highest level of offensive stats since joining the league in 2011-12, but how does it compare to previous years and other players? We put the spotlight on Ellis to truly see how his year went.
Statistically, Ellis had his best year playing in all 82 games for the Nashville Predators, scoring 7 goals and for a total of 41 points.
How does this compare to previous years? We will only touch on his 2017-18 year to focus on the average statistics he had because of his surgery to his knee he only played 44 games.
We will use his last full year, 2017, to hammer down the changes. Going back to 2016-17 Ellis had scored 38 points that season, however, he played in 11 fewer games and scored 9 more goals.
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When looking at the averages for offense, Ellis has dropped significantly in the goal-scoring department. 2017 through 2019, Ellis posted .23, .20, and .09 goals per game respectively.
In the assist column, 2017-19 Ellis would see .31, .52 and .41 assists per game respectively. Ellis would put himself 3rd on the team for assists by defenders at 34, behind Roman Josi, 41 Mattias Ekholm, 36 and fourth overall trailing the leader Ryan Johansen.
Trading goals for assist can hurt, especially if the Predators are not winning games but gaining assists means he is still creating offense in the attacking zone.
Basic statistics aside, Ellis still matched the previous year’s stats or improved in multiple categories in 2019. Per Hockey Reference, Corsi and Fenwick stats at even strength had Ellis at a CF% and FF% of 49.3 and 49.1 in 2017 and 50.9 and 51.6 in 2019.
This means that the Predators were controlling the puck more when Ellis was on the ice in years past. With that higher puck control, Ellis was able to post higher shot totals on the net and attempted shots on net.
The struggles that Ellis’ year had were caused by an overall team problem being the powerplay calamity and the first postseason series.
On special teams, Ellis found himself with 2 goals, one being a shorthanded goal, and 4 assists. Whereas in 2017 Ellis had 5 goals, 4 on the power play and one shorthanded, and 9 assists.
In 2018, Ellis had 6 assists and 2 goals in just 44 games! Hopefully, with the addition of Dan Lambert, the Predators can get back in positive numbers for the powerplay.
Playoffs. Honestly, we could leave the talks of playoffs out of the report card however, the playoffs happened.
The Predators would see their struggles continue during the power play and overall urgency on the rush until it was too late.
Ellis would go to post similar points per game percentage compared to other years. 13 points in 22 games get Ellis .59 points per game in 2017 and in 2019 he put up 3 assists in 6 games for .5 percent.
Through the last three years, Ellis has averaged 24 minutes per game. He would also go to have significant time on the penalty kill and power play.
Through the struggles the team would have, it would not lessen the workload that Ellis would get. Most of the 2019 year, Ellis would be lined up with Josi and a small portion of the year with Ekholm just like previous years.
Overall, Ellis had another year that was like his previous years in statistics and production. It did feel slightly off occasionally when Ellis would be out of place and allow an offensive threat, but more often than not he would be alongside Pekka Rinne clearing pucks from around the net and blocking passes in the defensive zone.
Hopefully, the knee that plagued his 2017-18 year is still holding strong. Next year Ellis should be viewed as the top line guy to pair with Josi. Since PK Subban is no longer on the team, Ekholm would be an easier pair up for the young gun, Dante Fabbro.
Ellis is an important piece to the Predators in many ways and still is playing at a high level. Ellis should receive an A- for his production on the team. It could be argued that he is starting to decline, however generating offense and posting another 40+ point season is a solid season.
Hopefully, Ellis can keep producing at the level he has played over the last three years. A break out 2020 would be even sweeter for him and the Nashville Predators.