By Jim Diamond
After missing the first few days of this season’s training camp as a restricted free agent, Ryan Ellis agreed to terms on a new deal with the Nashville Predators Thursday. According to Ellis’ agent Paul Krepelka, the deal will keep Ellis in Predators gold for five seasons and pay the blueliner a total of $12.5 million.
In a release, the team said that Ellis would be in Nashville Friday.
In locking up Ellis for five years, the Predators continued their recent trend of locking up their young group of defensemen. Long known for their prowess of drafting and developing young blueliners, Ellis’ contract signifies the organization’s belief that the 23-year-old will be a mainstay with the team for many years.
Last season, his first as a regular in the Nashville lineup, Ellis scored six goals and added 21 assists in 80 games played. He averaged 16:04 of ice time per game, with 1:45 of that on the power play. Ellis’ 123 shots on goal were good for seventh-best on the team.
Ellis joins team captain Shea Weber and Roman Josi as members of Nashville’s blue line who are signed to long-term deals.
As a result of the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet that he signed with the Philadelphia Flyers and later matched by the Predators in the summer of 2012, Weber looks to be a Predator for the remainder of his career.
Last summer, the Swiss-born Josi inked his name on a seven-year, $28 million contract that will keep the Bern native in Nashville through the 2019-2020 season. The emerging star plays on Weber’s left side. The Predators took a slight gamble inking a young defenseman to a deal of that length, but right now, it looks like a steal.
In investing five more years into Ellis, Nashville hopes to capture the same kind of contract magic with the young Canadian.
Mattias Ekholm and Seth Jones, two of Nashville’s other young defensemen, are signed for this season plus one more before they become restricted free agents as well.