Should Islanders Target Ryan Ellis?

Things we know:

  1. Travis Hamonic would like to leave New York for personal reasons, and his desired landing spot is somewhere in Western Canada – Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary or Vancouver – or perhaps Colorado or Minnesota at a push.
  2. Garth Snow wants a ‘like-for-like’ replacement who can play for the Islanders now. They have defensive prospects, they don’t want picks. Snow wants to ensure the Islanders remain a contender (even if it as a dark horse at this point).

It also seems apparent that a straight deal with one of those six teams is proving ‘difficult’.

The Islanders are in the unique position where they’re a seller dealing from a position of strength; but even then the idea Calgary would trade T.J. Brodie for Hamonic, which is rumoured to be what Snow asked for, is somewhat laughable.

And thus the conversation is increasingly turning to the idea that a third team might have to enter the ring to make a deal happen.

And with a plethora of defensive talent on their books, and a need for some offensive help, Nashville might be that team – especially as they have a young defenceman that could serve as a more than adequate replacement for Hamonic: 24-year old Ryan Ellis.

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The Hamilton, Ontario native is signed through to 2019 with a cap hit of just $2.5m per season and currently averages 19:40 minutes per night for a Predators team STACKED along the blue line.

Ellis might be considered a more offensively minded player, with a greater points return and Relative Corsi For Percentage in the past two and a quarter seasons (7.74% to Hamonic’s -4.47%), but the former Windsor Spitfire has been used on the penalty kill by Nashville this season and has proven that he is no slouch in his own end.

It would not be unreasonable to suggest Ellis, who is currently playing on the Predators third pair with Mattias Ekholm, is at a point where he is ready to assume a bigger role – especially in the East, where his skating ability and offensive upside would make him a strong contributor.

With Ekholm signing a 6-year extension last month, and Petter Granberg recently claimed off waivers, Nashville might also be willing to make at least one of their glut of D men available, having been shut out in three straight games.

Shea Weber, Roman Josi and Seth Jones are going nowhere (regardless of your feelings on Weber’s contract); but the Predators’ need for some offensive help is no secret, but this kind of goal scoring slump can be deadly in an ultra competitive Central Division where at least one good team is likely to miss the playoffs this season.

Whilst any such deal would still necessitate one of the half dozen teams Hamonic is hoping to move to playing ball,  trying to wrangle a forward to ship to Nashville is likely to be easier than a defenceman; which seem to be in short supply league wide (hence the Islanders strong hand when it comes to moving Hamonic).

The kicker is that Nashville’s need is down the middle, and while Minnesota’s Mikael Granlund is rumoured to be available there are few clear options at centre among the six sides previously mentioned.

In Ellis however, Nashville might have the perfect replacement for Hamonic, and in Hamonic the Islanders might have the perfect bargaining chip to land the Predators some much needed offensive help.

Giving David Poile a call certainly can’t hurt anyway…

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About Rob

Software engineer by day, Elite League Media man by night, Rob also blogs about cricket for One Stump Short, hockey for In Goal Magazine and video games for Outpost Delta as well as hosting the One Stump Short Podcast.

Posted on November 24, 2015, in Hockey, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, NHL and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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