Ryan Ellis: Is He Nashville’s Trade Bait?

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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.

Trade Deadline: David Legwand Traded to Red Wings

Thanks for the memories, Leggy.

Thanks for the memories, Leggy.

There were talks for weeks and rumors spread, but today, the whispers were confirmed: David Legwand was traded to the Detroit Red Wings. Legwand is a native of Detroit, so for all the teams for him to make the leap towards, the Red Wings was a given. But, even for all those Legwand Haters, after all the years, doesn’t it hurt just a bit to see him actually leave?

We all know the hockey history of David Legwand: Nashville’s first-ever draft pick, franchise record holder, rode the wild wave that is the Nashville Predators organization. He was Mr. Predator; but not forever.

Contrary to popular (Preds fans) belief, Legwand is an outstanding player and will fit in well with Detroit’s system; it will be a breath of fresh air for him under a new lineup. With Pavel Datsyuk on the mend, Legwand will be thrown into the fire at first go, but it isn’t anything he cannot handle.

But how was he traded? Didn’t he have a No Movement Clause? Glad you asked: Yes, he did indeed have a NMC. So how did this happen?
In a nutshell, Legwand (in the end) called the shots. David Poile would work out a possible trade with another organization (in this case Detroit) & present it to David for consideration. Basically, he could either accept the trade or give Poile the stiff arm and say, “No deal”. So why, after always saying, “I will retire a Nashville Predator” did he take the trade offer?
After acquiring Matt Cullen and signing him to a two-year contract during the summer, Legwand’s trade immunity began to fade in the organization and, no offense to Patric Hornqvist, but after getting the shaft as alternate captain enough times, you start to feel a bit… underrated and taken for granted. In my opinion, he was. That, and he is getting up there in age (hockey life, that is) and who wouldn’t want to go home? Come now, that was Ryan Suter’s idea, right? All kidding aside, life with the Detroit Red Wings may just be what the doctor ordered when it comes to lighting a fire under Legwand’s remaining years in the NHL.

So, what does Nashville get for their longest-serving representative?

  • PicMonkey CollagePatrick Eaves: You probably recognize his name, though he is a sufferer of chronic injuries, including a broken jaw at the hands of a Roman Josi slap shot back in 2011.  The right-winger currently has two goals and three assists this season and becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Calle Jarnkrok: Another Swede! Jarnkrok is 2nd-Rounder from the 2010 draft currently with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate team. He’s tearing up in the AHL right now, but this is his first stint in the North American hockey system and may want to return to Europe. Let’s hope not.
  • 3rd-Round Draft Pick: Draft picks are good, but it gets better: if the Red Wings secure a place in the playoffs, that 3rd-rounder turns into a 2nd-rounder. Go Red Wings…?

You can question Poile and his motives, but the man knows how to get the better end of a deal (for the most part).

We will miss David Legwand, there’s no doubt. We only wish him the best with the Detroit organization and thank him for all the memories.

https://twitter.com/richcluneshow/status/441328045832425472

Trade Deadline: MTL nabs Dubnyk

Dubbie's off to Montreal

Dubbie’s off to Montreal

So this comes as no surprise that the Predators needed to pass Devan Dubnyk on to greener pastures, but in all honesty, I expected him to fall down to the Admirals. That, my friends, was not the case today. Around noon, TSN confirmed that the Predators had traded Devan Dubnyk to the Montreal Canadiens for “future considerations”. Carey Price has been suffering from an injury, but Montreal refuses to say that is the reason for picking up Dubnyk.

That being said, Dubnyk has had a rough, but interesting, season thus far; Montreal will be his third team and he is yet another backup for an injured goaltender. That doesn’t seem to phase Dubnyk much, though; he still believes he has the ability and talent to be a starting goaltender. It’s good to have ambitions. Unfortunately, we just got word that Dubnyk is, for now, being assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs, which is Montreal’s farm team.

Dubnyk isn’t the only goalie who has been traded thus far, though; he joins the ranks of six other goalies who are making the move, which consists of Roberto Luongo (VAN-FLA), Ilya Bryzgalov (EDM-MIN), Viktor Fasth (ANA-EDM), Ryan Miller (BUF-STL), Jaroslav Halak (STL-BUF) & Jacob Markstrom (FLA-VAN). It truly is the Goalie’s Deadline this year.

We wish Dubnyk well on his ventures with the Canadiens and we hope than not too many fans ran out and grabbed up a Preds Dubnyk jersey. We must say, though, Dubnyk lit a fire under Carter Hutton’s bottom when it came to who would hang onto that backup position. For that, we thank you.

We’ll keep you updated if Nashville decides to do something productive or absolutely asinine.

https://twitter.com/smashville/status/441269676882919424

Preds aquire Filip Forsberg from WSH for Erat & Latta

 

Image Source: Thescore.com

Image Source: Thescore.com

Wowza. What an unexpected surprise for Nashville, wouldn’t you say? Though I would’ve loved to rush to the blog to get this story out sooner, my employer wouldn’t have appreciated me cussing under my breath at my phone as I fought to get WordPress to work on my phone.

Though you know the story by now, the Predators made a surprise move on the last day of the Trade Deadline in the form of trading both Martin Erat and Mike Latta to the Washington Capitals for a forward by the name of Filip Forsberg. *I beg your pardon? We traded Erat and Latté for who?* Well, we hope that now that most of the story and facts have trickled out, we can get you the full blown information here. Let’s take a look at what Mr. Poile did today and was it worth the loss of a veteran like Erat?

Well, from what we gather in a nutshell: Yes, yes it was.
Filip Forsberg was selected 11th overall by the Capitals in the 2012 Draft, the third Forward to be drafted. Let us also mention that the young Forsberg, born on August 13, 1994 (I feel old), has no relation to Peter Forsberg who played for Nashville for a brief time in 2006. The 18-year-old is not currently with the Capitals, though; he isn’t even floating around their Farm Team. Honestly, he isn’t even in North America at all. No, Forsberg is currently in Sweden (where he hails), filling a roster spot with Leksands IF of the Swedish Elite League. With 15 goals and 18 assists in just 38 games, Forsberg looks like the offensive powerhouse that Nashville has longed to acquire (Hey, Radulov…).

Though he hasn’t proven himself in the NHL yet, it was a risk Poile and Co. were willing to take in order to take Nashville to a Stanley Cup. The young Swede has already signed a 3-year entry level contract and is cleared to play in North America now, if he chooses. Though he has one game left in Sweden, it is not for certain if he will make the jump to the NHL this season or next, but believe us, he’ll be wearing the Predators gold soon. David Poile made the comment today that he does want to see him in the lineup soon.

So, if this prospect is so good, why did the Capitals let the 18-year-old go for a 31-year-old vet?
Truth is, Washington gave up on him. Okay, there was more than that, but that is the reason in a nutshell. He hasn’t seen a second of NHL ice time and risking him for a veteran like Martin Erat wasn’t a tough decision for Washington. Plus, they acquire Michael Latta with the trade, who has been a standout for the Milwaukee Admirals as of late. Though Latta will probably hit Washington’s FT, Erat will join alongside Alexander Ovechkin and former Predator, Joel Ward.

More news trickled out as the trade announcement had been made; one that shook Predators fans to the core. Per David Poile in his press conference to the media, Martin Erat had expressed his interest in being traded. Still sore from the Ryan Suter debacle, fans were not ready to hear that Marty Erat, who has been with the team for twelve years, spoke with Poile two weeks before the Trade Deadline about waiving his ‘no-movement clause’ and search for greener pastures. It was clear Erat was no longer happy here in Nashville, which is a shame, but Nashville was “moving on with a younger team” and he doesn’t “have 6- to 7 years to wait for it [Stanley Cup] to happen”.

You can’t hate the guy for being unhappy and for being honest. Poile expressed his displeasure that the Predators and Martin Erat had to come to an end in a negative way, but I wouldn’t say Erat is leaving in a negative light. He expressed his displeasure and Poile honored his request, nothing more, nothing less.

We wish Marty all the luck in the world with Washington and hope he finds a better fit with Ovie and Wardo. It’s hard to see a leader and veteran like Erat wish to leave and, as a fan, it makes you wonder what went wrong. Why was he so unhappy here? Well, everyone has their own opinion as to why Erat may have been unhappy – as do we – but from his own mouth, he and Nashville were no longer on the same page. His lack of performance this season proved his displeasure here, and that you cannot dispute.

As for Mike Latta, we were looking forward to the feisty enforcer in Nashville, but alas, that ship as sailed to the Hershey Bears (Washington’s FT). He was drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2008 NHL Draft (72nd overall) and has made a name for himself while with Milwaukee as a fan favorite.

Ecstatic, isn't he?

Ecstatic, isn’t he?

From fellow teammate and Preds prospect, Magnus Hellberg

From fellow teammate and Preds prospect, Magnus Hellberg

 

To gain is to lose, and in order to aquire the future of the Nashville Predators organization, we had to let go of the past; a part of the foundation that his held Nashville together for twelve long years. It is hard to see Erat go, but again, to gain is to lose. Once Filip Forsberg has joined the Predators, fans will see that David Poile made the right move to push the future of the Nashville Predators towards the ultimate goal: the Stanley Cup.

We wish you well, Martin Erat.


We wish you well, Mike Latta.

Welcome to the greatest team in the league, Filip Forsberg.

 

 

 

 

Preds Win with Both Trade Deadline and against L.A. Kings

Patric Hornqvist returns to the lineup on fire with his 18th goal of the season.

NEVER ENOUGH KOSTITSYNS:

The NHL Trade Deadline may have ended at 2PM yesterday, but that didn’t mean the day ended for the Nashville Predators. Although Nashville was thought to be in the running for Blue Jackets captain, Rick Nash, Predators GM David Poile had other plans up his sleeves.

David Poile surprised many Preds fans with the trade agreement between the Montreal Canadiens for Andrei Kostitsyn, Sergei’s older brother. Andrei had expressed interest in wanting to be traded to Nashville, but because everyone’s minds were on the Nash-to-Nash situation, no one saw this one coming. The Predators and the Canadiens came to an agreement that, along with the conditional trade that came along with Hal Gill, the Predators would give up a 2nd Round Draft pick for 2013.

Poile made a last minute trade with the Buffalo Sabres, picking up Forward Paul Gaustad for a 1st Round pick in this year’s draft, another unexpected move. If you can remember the Ryan Miller/Jordin Tootoo incident from December 3rd, you might recall a certain player who attacked Jordin Tootoo afterwards and had it out for Anders Lindback. If you guessed Paul Gaustad, you are correct. Although tension will probably cease now that the three are teammates, but it is still a little awkward.

Although most fans, if not all, were blinded by the Nash-to-Nash possible trade (we definitely were), these two additions to the Nashville Predators may (and will most likely have to be) the key to keeping both Ryan Suter and Shea Weber in the gold sweaters. We won’t dive into that controversy right now. However, what’s most important is that these two additions will help the Predators advance to the Stanley Cup.

ON TO THE GAME:

  • Ryan Ellis was called up for last night’s game against the Kings, making many fans think Jack Hillen, if any Predator, would be on the fence during the Trade Deadline. Hillen made it past 2PM and got some ice time, making a Pekka-like save in front of the goal, preventing a clear goal from the Kings. Kevin Klein was the surprising scratch (along with Ellis) and Brian McGrattan is still sitting pretty on the IR.
  • Rookie Roman Josi got the ball rolling at the end of the 1st (18:27), sending a wrist shot past Jonathan Quick for his 4th goal of the season. David Legwand and Gabriel Bourque picked up the assists on Josi’s goal.
  • Patric Hornqvist wasted no time putting his team up 2-0 at 3:52 in the 2nd, sending a wrist shot of his own past Quick for his 18th goal of the season. David Legwand picked up his second assist of the night and Sergei Kostitsyn picked up one as well.
  • The Kings would prevent the Predators from shutting them out at 16:36 in the third with wrist shot from Dustin Brown, his 18th goal of the season.
  • Pekka Rinne saw one of his best nights of the season, blocking 30 of 31 shots on goal. The Predators were also out-shot 31 to 28, adding to their NHL record.
  • The Predators and the Kings both only faced one penalty kill each, with Gabriel Bourque facing a tripping penalty at 4:37 in the 2nd Period.

The Predators are off to Raleigh to face the 23-26-13 Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, but they will have Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad in tow. Will they blow the Hurricanes out of the water? The puck drops at 6PM!

Until then,
GO PREDS.