NASHVILLE, Tenn. W(RKN) – When the Predators traded Shea Weber for PK Subban, it marked a changing of the guard for Nashville, but what the Predators didn’t know is that change would include Ryan Ellis.
The Predators made Ellis the 11th overall pick of the 2009 NHL Draft and, while he has been a solid contributor for years for Nashville, he’s emerged this season and especially in the post season as a difference maker for the Predators.
Most expected Subban to be paired with All-Star defenseman Roman Josi, but it’s been Ellis that replaced Weber in that pair, and Josi has watched him blossom.
“Obviously he’s been scoring a lot, and we know how good his shot is and how smart he is in the offensive zone, but he’s a great player defensively, too. As a partner, I see it every day. He’s always in position and he makes my life much, much easier and I know I can always count on him,” Josi said.
Ellis leads the Predators with nine points in seven playoff games with a team leading four goals and five assists.
While his offensive contributions have been huge, his knack is for being in the right place at the right time, blocking shots, bailing out Pekka Rinne in a clutch situation, which has really stood out.
Ellis is a rink rat, and his love and knowledge for the game is obvious. He knows it is part of what gives him an advantage.
“I mean, growing up I wasn’t the biggest guy, so I couldn’t just run into the corner and run people over all that kind of stuff. So, for me, it was about thinking the game faster or in a different way than other players,” he said.
While Ellis has been outstanding in the post season, he put up a career high 38 points this season with 16 goals and 22 assists in only 71 games.
Ellis has also posted a positive plus/minus rating four seasons in a row, but this season he posted a career high +17.
Whether he is scoring or killing penalties, Ellis plays winning hockey and he is a big part of why the Predators are winning so big this year in the playoffs.