Roughly an hour before the puck dropped on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena, news broke that the Nashville Predators had re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Ryan Ellis. After a career best year in 2013-14, the former Windsor Spitfires captain was a training camp hold out.
Per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, it’s a five year term at an annual cap hit of $2.5 million. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun has since reported that his salary starts at $1.5 million and goes up a half a million each year of the term, finishing at $3.5 million.
For obvious reasons, it’s great to finally have Ellis in camp but there are other benefits to getting a long term deal done. Shea Weber (2028), Roman Josi (2020), Ellis (2019), and Mattias Ekholm and Seth Jones (RFA’s in 2016) are all locked up for the foreseeable future. Even seventh defenseman Victor Bartley is under contract through the 2015-16 season. Anton Volchenkov, who was signed this summer as a free agent, is the only Nashville blueliner not guaranteed to wear gold past this season.
In short, signing Ellis means General Manager David Poile has very little to worry about on the back end. He can almost exclusively concentrate on the forward position in order to improve his team.
Ellis is expected to join the team tomorrow.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Fuqua