Before I get started, please note that this is just my opinion and my speculation. If I end up being right, that’ll be cool; if not, no big deal!
With the trade deadline fast approaching (March 2nd), the rumors are bound to fly and who does Nashville have that could be trade-worthy? Remember, in order to get something good, you have to give up something good in return (i.e. a player, draft pick, or a combination of both). That player, in my opinion, could be Ryan Ellis.
Before you implode, I personally think Ellis is a good fit with where he is; I’d rather not see him get traded away. However, he may be the only aspect Nashville would be willing to part with and still get what they need.
Ellis, though doing exceptionally well under Peter Laviolette’s system, is actually down in points from last year (a time when some people thought then that his trade value was decreasing). However, he could still surpass those numbers this season (27 overall last season, just 18 so far this season), but where is he?
Yes, I am aware he is listed on the Injured Reserve, but you usually hear updates periodically during this stance as to a player’s condition. Ryan Ellis? The last thing I find reported on his condition was from Tom Willis on February 6th:
And even this does not give a “yea or nay” as to how he’s coming along since suffering a lower-body injury back on January 8th against the Dallas Stars. What I thought was just an ankle sprain must’ve been much more, as he has missed fourteen games since then; and the Predators aren’t slowing down without him. Mattias Ekholm, who is normally paired with Ellis, has done exceptionally well without his counterpart, though an injury from Sunday’s bout in Florida has him sidelined.
Ah, but he signed a five-year, $12.5M contract extension back in August, which caused a bit of controversy, if my memory serves me correctly. That, unfortunately, doesn’t exactly matter; if Nashville can get what they want out of a deal, they’ll take it. A good example would be this past off-season when Nashville traded Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward James Neal. Hornqvist was signed to a five-year, $21.25M extension at the end of the 2012-13 shortened lockout season, but was dealt to the Penguins just a year and two months after his five-year contract went into effect. And you know you never thought Hornqvist would ever be traded; don’t lie.
Another prime example? Kevin Klein. Nashville signed Klein to a five-year, $14.5M contract extension in September of 2012, but traded him off to the New York Rangers for Michael Del Zotto just a year and four months into his extension. So, needless to say, although Ellis’ contract will come into play if Nashville does consider him for trade, it won’t play a huge factor if they can get what they want.
Another, more interesting topic to point out is… Where is Ryan Ellis’ jersey on the GnashVegas auction block? A far stretch into me searching for reasons as to why Ellis would be up for trade consideration, but a clue nonetheless. Check out all the auction items here, if you haven’t seen the list yet. Ellis is a popular player and still on the organization’s roster; so where’s his jersey? Heck, they even have a Marek Mazanec and Vince Gill jersey up for bid. Just a speculation, but if he is up for trade, who would want to bid upwards to $600 for a jersey, only to have that player traded right afterwards? Who knows, maybe that’s not even on the Predators radar and they just haven’t gotten his jersey up there yet. But, my lovely sister (you may know her as @Hutch8504 on Twitter) pointed that out to me last night while at the game and it piqued my interest.
Beyond all those factors, Ryan Ellis has trade worth. His history of junior hockey achievements is what ignited Nashville’s interest in him back at the 2009 NHL Draft, chosen 11th overall and that performance could enhance his trade value. Another factor is that he is on a team with the best defense in the league; any team struggling with this component would bite at the chance to snag Ryan Ellis.
Again, all of this is just my two cents: take it or leave it. But, if Ryan Ellis is a trade factor, who would you like to see Nashville claim? Personally, I’m liking the thought of bringing Cody Franson back or possibly even Phil Kessel. Evander Kane was on my radar at one point, but then he went all MIA and yea, Nashville doesn’t need that (see: Andrei Kostitsyn & Alexander Radulov take Phoenix). That, and Kane was just traded to the Buffalo Sabres (along with Zach Bogosian, and goaltending prospect Jason Kasdorf) for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, prospects Brendan Lemieux and Joel Armia, along with a 2015 first-round draft pick. Good gravy.
Ah, the fun of speculation and rumors abound before the NHL Trade Deadline. It never ceases to fail us… for the most part.