Ryan Ellis, a valuable defenseman of the Nashville Predators, became more valuable when he signed an eight-year, $50 million contract this week, solidifying his role on the team through the 2026-2027 season.
Ellis, 27, provides outstanding playoff experience and leadership. Named associate captain before the 2017-2018 season, Ellis often paired with captain Roman Josi. After coming back from knee surgery last year, Ellis tallied nine goals and 23 assists in 44 games. When Ellis is on the ice, the Predators score: He finished the season with a plus 26 rating.
Ellis also brings a heavy slapshot to their power play (two of his nine goals last year were on the power play), and often attacks below the circles to generate more offense.
And Ellis plays big in crucial moments. After returning last year, Ellis tied important games late in the third period against the Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, and Vancouver Canucks. He beat Montreal Canadians goaltender Carey Price glove-side high in a shootout to give the Predators room to breathe in the standings.
Ellis only recorded five assists in 13 playoff games last season, but he again proved he’s a player: Ellis took a skate blade right below his eye in Game 1 against the Winnipeg Jets. Ellis tripped and caught Ben Chiarot`s skate underneath his visor, and the bleeding began. Stitched up, Ellis returned to the ice in ten minutes.
Bringing Ellis back was more than pertinent to the future success of the Predators, and landing him for eight years will give them plenty of opportunity to raise the Stanley Cup in Nashville.
-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the NHL for Full Press Coverage.