Nashville Predators sign prospect Ryan Ellis to pro contract


From the Nashville Predators:

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed defenseman Ryan Ellis, the club's first choice (11th overall) in the 2009 Entry Draft, to a three-year entry-level contract.

Ellis, 18 (1/3/91), helped Windsor (OHL) win the 2009 Memorial Cup and Ontario Hockey League title a season ago, being named to the Memorial Cup All-Star Team in process. The Hamilton, Ont., native led all OHL defensemen in points (89), goals (22) and assists (67) in 2008-09 en route to winning the 2009 Max Kaminsky Trophy as the OHL's most outstanding defenseman. In 2009-10, Ellis has appeared in seven games for the Spitfires, recording 10 assists and a plus-7 rating.

The 5-9, 172-pound blueliner also won a gold medal with Canada at the 2009 World Junior Championships, posting seven points (1g-6a) in six tournament games. He was the youngest defenseman to play for Canada at the WJC since Jay Boumeester in 2001, and was one of just three draft-eligible players on the 2009 team.

Ellis attended Predators Training Camp in September, and appeared in Nashville's first preseason game on Sept. 17 vs. Atlanta.

This does not mean that Ellis will be playing in Nashville any sooner than scheduled, but it gets the matter of his initial contract out of the way. Fellow 2009 1st-round pick Simon Depres, for example, just signed a similar deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins but is playing for St. John in the QMJHL. It's termed a "sliding contract", which means that the terms don't kick in until he turns pro. It will cover his first three years of pro hockey whenever they commence.

Ellis hopes to return to the Spitfires lineup soon after injuring his wrist earlier this month.

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