The harsh reality of the lockout has hit home for Dan Ellis.
The 32-year-old netminder — a veteran of seven NHL seasons and 165 games — has been on the job hunt throughout the summer, a search that ended Monday with a professional tryout contract in AHL Charlotte.
More, from the Checkers website:
The arrival of Ellis, who spent each of the last two seasons backing up Jonas Hiller with the Anaheim Ducks, will give the Checkers four goalies at camp.
Two of those, Justin Peters and John Muse, are under NHL contracts with the Carolina Hurricanes, while another, rookie Rob Madore, signed an AHL deal with the Checkers this summer.
Ellis is one of a slew of experienced players who have joined up with AHL teams since the beginning of the NHL’s labor stoppage.
Ellis made waves earlier this summer when he emailed Vancouver Province writer Ben Kuzma, essentially petitioning for a backup gig to Cory Schneider (this was based on the assumption the Canucks would eventually deal Roberto Luongo which, obviously, hasn’t happened yet.)
“I’m still looking and there are some options in Europe, but I think I’ve got more than enough to give in the NHL,” Ellis said at the time. “That [Europe] is not an avenue I want to look into just yet. I’ve been in the NHL for five years and every year it seems like I’ve been in a 1A and 1B situation.”
It might seem unorthodox for a veteran to ink a tryout deal in the minors, but this could be a good situation for Ellis in the long run.
Carolina’s organizational goaltending depth behind Cam Ward is shallow (Brian Boucher could be out ’til December, Peters and Muse aren’t exactly elite prospects) and the AHL promises to be a strong circuit this year, especially with all the NHL regulars dispatched due to the work stoppage.