Ryan Ellis Nashville Predators Season Preview: When Is Blastoff for the Human Rocket Ship?

Frederick Breedon

The self-proclaimed Human Rocket Ship came to Nashville following an unparalleled junior hockey career, but has failed to produce big numbers at the NHL level. With Seth Jones now on the scene, is time running out for Ellis to prove himself with the Predators?


Ryan Ellis

#4 / Defenseman / Nashville Predators

5-10

179

Jan 03, 1991


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - Ryan Ellis 32 2 4 6 -2 15 2 0 0 48 4.2

Fancy Stats

Season GP 5on5 TOI/Gm 5on5 Pts/60 Corsi Rel On-Ice Sht % On-Ice Sv% PDO Pen Take Pen Drawn OZ Strt% Shots/60
2013 32 13.50 0.42 +9.6 6.1 914 975 0.7 1.1 49.8 4.58
2012 32 12.58 0.89 +10.3 8.8 932 1020 0.3 1.2 59.5 3.58

As he enters the final season of his entry level contract, Ellis is at a bit of a crossroads after posting just two goals and four assists in 32 games last season. Should he establish himself as an NHL regular, the Predators could be set up with the best stable of right-side defensemen in the NHL, between himself, Shea Weber, Kevin Klein & Seth Jones. If he doesn't, however, Jones could easily push him out of the way and raise questions as to whether Ellis might prove to be a 1st-round bust, a player who could rack up video game-like numbers at lower levels of hockey but can't produce in the NHL.

The puck possession metrics shown above, however, give strong reason to believe that Ellis can indeed contribute for Nashville, and perhaps warrants a greater role. The Predators have been consistently out-shot by their opponents in recent seasons, but Ellis is one of the few Preds to push the flow of play in a positive direction on a regular basis (Colin Wilson & Patric Hornqvist are other examples). The problem, of course, is that when a smaller defenseman like Ellis gets beaten in his own zone it's easy to proclaim him unfit for NHL duty, especially without eye-popping goal & assist totals to act as a counterbalance.

The hope is that new assistant coach Phil Housley (an undersized but successful run & gun blueliner himself) can help Ellis deliver the results on the scoreboard that the fancy stats indicate are due to come. Ellis himself seems to understand his predicament:

So what do you think, is this the year that Ryan Ellis asserts himself as a force with the Nashville Predators, or does the Human Rocket Ship alter course for another NHL city?

Stats Table Explanation

  • GP: Games Played
  • 5on5 TOI/Gm: Ice Time per game in 5-on-5 play
  • 5on5 Pts/60: Points earned (goals & assists) per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play
  • Corsi Rel: The shift in the balance of Total Shots For & Against when that player is on the ice during 5-on-5 play, as opposed to when he is on the bench. Total Shots = Shots on Goal + Missed Shots + Blocked Shots. Represents an individual's influence on the flow of play.
  • On-Ice Sht %: The team's shooting percentage when that individual is on the ice during 5-on-5 play. Generally, individuals have little to no influence on this number, which can bounce around randomly from season to season.
  • On-Ice Sv%: The team's save percentage while that individual is on the ice in 5-no-5 play. Again, individual's usually have very little influence on this number.
  • PDO: The sum of On-Ice Sht% and On-Ice Sv%, this trends very strongly to 1000 over the long run for almost all players. High values indicate fortunate "puck luck", low values the opposite.
  • Pen Take: Penalties committed by that player per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time.
  • Pen Drawn: Penalties committed by opponents, but drawn by that player (creating power plays for him team) per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time.
  • OZ Strt%: Offensive Zone Start %, the percentage of non-neutral zone faceoffs that player is on the ice for which are in the offensive zone. A measure of how a player is deployed by his coach.
  • Shots/60: Shots on goal taken by that player per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time.
  • The above stats are sourced and/or derived from Behind the Net.
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