It's time, Kid.
In light of Marc's update from earlier, that Shea Weber left the morning skate early today and is likely out for tonight's game against the Detroit Red Wings, the Nashville Predators have called up defenseman Ryan Ellis from the Milwaukee Admirals to make sure the team has six blueliners to dress tonight (Kevin Klein is still recovering from his bout with the flu, but did skate today). Ellis is now listed on the big-league roster both on the Preds' site and by the NHL.
The hockey world has been waiting for the 2009 1st-round draft pick (11th overall) to make his debut on the NHL stage after completing one of the most decorated careers in the history of Canadian junior hockey. Yes, he's still a young buck and has a long road to travel before becoming a reliable defenseman at the NHL level, but it's hard not to get a little giddy about the prospect of seeing #49 take the ice tonight at Bridgestone Arena.
We'll update this post as we hear more, as again, we're still not even sure that Shea Weber is out for this one yet, this callup may be for precautionary reasons more than anything else. So stay tuned!
UPDATE: An excerpt from the Preds' press release follows...
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has recalled defenseman Ryan Ellis from Milwaukee (AHL). The Freelton, Ont., native is scheduled to make his NHL debut tonight against the Detroit Red Wings.
Ellis, 20 (1/3/91), is tied for ninth among American Hockey League defensemen, and tied for first among rookie blueliners, in points with 17 (4g-13a) in 26 games. One of the most decorated defensemen in Canadian Hockey League history, Ellis became just the third d-man in Ontario Hockey League history to record 300 career points (73g-241a-314pts, +145, 207 PIMs, 226 gp), joining Rick Corriveau (329) and Denis Potvin (330) a season ago, winning the 2011 Red Tilson Trophy awarded to the OHL's Most Outstanding Player of the Year, the 2011 Max Kaminsky Trophy for the second time in three years as the League's Most Outstanding Defenseman of the Year and the Mickey Renaud Captain's Trophy for leadership on and off the ice.
The 11th overall (first round) selection in the 2009 Entry Draft is also one of just seven players to represent Canada at three straight World Junior Championships (2009, 2010 and 2011), and just the fourth Canadian ever to win three medals at the WJC. With 25 points (5g-20a) in three tournaments, he is the all-time leading defensive scorer in the history of the event.