Thursday's notes: Should the Predators keep Ryan Ellis up for the rest of the season?

We'll kick off this morning's hockey notes with a question from that came by on Twitter, and is well worth digging into:

so when Klein and weber are both back in lineup..chance of Ellis staying up and Blum back to Milwaukee keeping 7 d-men? - @davidfarmer23

I would expect that Ryan Ellis will be heading back to Milwaukee once the injury situation improves, and it's not so much about his play as it is about managing Nashville's long-term hockey assets. As we all know, the major storyline hanging over this Nashville Predators season is what will happen with the Big 3 of Weber, Suter, and Rinne. Rinne's been locked up, but Ryan Suter will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, while Shea Weber won't hit that status until the summer of 2013.

So what does this have to do with Ryan Ellis?

The reason that Suter is reaching UFA status one year faster than Weber is because Suter is reaching the end of his 7th "Accrued Season", while Weber is only in his 6th. In the Collective Bargaining Agreement, an Accrued Season is defined as one in which that player was on his club's Active Roster for at least 40 games (30 for goalies). Weber's rookie season of 2005-6 (28 game played) didn't qualify, while Suter's (71 games played) did.

So in order to keep Ryan Ellis from hitting the UFA market a year earlier than they'd like, it behooves the Preds to send him back to the AHL for a while, then recall him for the stretch run if needed, just so long as he doesn't hit that 40-game mark (just as we saw with Jonathon Blum last season). That patient asset management goes along with the decision to let him complete his junior hockey career, even though some teams would have been tempted to keep him on their NHL roster in 2010-11.

Now granted, the CBA is being renegotiated in 2012, so terms are subject to change, and while it's quite possible that the number of years required for unrestricted free agency might change, I'd be surprised to see the definition of an Accrued Season altered significantly. Until those things get hammered out, David Poile needs to operate under the rules which are on the books today.

I hope that answers your question, David! Now, on to the morning hockey notes...

As always, the morning after a game I recommend you surf through the "More Predators Sites" box on the left-hand sidebar of the main page, as almost every Preds blog in town has a recap of last night's shootout win over Minnesota.

Nashville Predators News

Hockey Night in Nashville: Smith's goal-less streak hits 11 games in Preds shootout win
Craig Smith even got a chance in the shootout, but can't seem to pop one in despite creating chances.

Smashville 24/7: One more thing: Blum stepping up his game
What do you think, is Jonathon Blum getting things turned around?

Smashville 24/7: Wilson’s pre-scouted shootout goal lifts Preds to win
Give full marks to Colin Wilson for a dynamite move to score the Predators' lone shootout goal.

Admirals Win 9th Straight At Home; Drop Wolves 4-2 | Admirals Roundtable
It took a whole-team effort, but the Admirals kept on cruising at home.

Geoffrion responds to Trotz's comments - JSOnline
Boomer needs to get down to work, and I wouldn't expect a quick recall this time around.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Ryan Whitney's Injury And The Edmonton Media - The Copper & Blue
Reporters often tout their access to players and coaches as their source of authority, but what happens when that daily contact leads to cozy relationships, and them deciding not to ask certain questions that seem rather obvious? This story from Edmonton could be applied to a number of different NHL markets.

A Theory of Ice: Lovelovelove
Here's a different reason why, in general, I'd rather watch a game from the seats with one of my kids rather than from the press box as part of the working media.

Puck Daddy’s 10 best hockey goals of 2011 - Puck Daddy
Awesome! The Predators show up 3 times on this Top 10 list! Whoops...

HBO 24/7: Recapping Episode Number Three - Blueshirt Banter
Here's the scoop on the latest episode of 24/7, as the Winter Classic gets ever closer.

Jaromir Jagr Prepared for Return to Pittsburgh | The Hockey Writers
Expect wackiness tonight in Pittsburgh, as The Great Mullet returns as a dreaded Philadelphia Flyer.

Gaborik returns to the elite ranks as League leading scorer - NHL Hot Stove
The Rangers' Mr. Glass has climbed to the top of the NHL goal-scoring ranks.

WJC2012: 5 reasons why it’s perfectly Canadian to loathe the world junior - Buzzing The Net
It's OK not to give two hoots about this incredibly hyped tournament.

Finland strikes for three in third to upset U.S. - 2012 World Junior Championship
Preds prospects faced off as Mika Salomaki scored for the Finns in a 4-1 upset over Austin Watson & Team USA.

Puck Daddy’s 2011-12 Midseason Fantasy Hockey Awards - Puck Daddy
A collection of the best and brightest from the alternate universe of fantasy hockey.

Video: Joe Thornton offers Henrik Sedin the finger during taunt - Puck Daddy
The Sharks captain engages in some personal space violation.

Canucks At Sharks Recap ; Rivalries Rock (3-2Wo/t) - Nucks Misconduct
Thornton may have gotten away with his nonsense, but Vancouver won the game.

Recap: Capitals 4, Rangers 1 - Japers' Rink
The Washington Capitals took care of the Rangers last night, but can they start stringing some wins together?

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