Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis will miss a significant portion of the 2017-18 season.
The Predators delivered the bad news on Thursday, stating that Ellis will miss “several months” following offseason surgery to repair a “lower-body ailment.” According to Thomas Willis of the Predators, general manager David Poile told the media that Ellis isn’t expected back until the new year.
Ellis left Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final with an undisclosed injury but he returned to the lineup for Game 6. He appeared on a Hamilton, Ont., television station a couple of weeks later, sporting a large knee brace.
He told CHCH that he underwent a “minor procedure” on his right knee.
“It looks worse than it probably is,” Ellis said at the time. “Hopefully be back on the ice in no time.”
Unfortunately for Ellis and the Predators, that isn’t going to be the case.
After finishing as the second wild card team in the West last season, the Predators bolted through three rounds of the playoffs before ultimately losing to Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Final. There were a number of factors that contributed to their success in winning the Western Conference, most notably the performance of their top-four group of defensemen, which includes Ellis.
Given how well that unit played last season, this is a significant loss for a team expected to once again compete for the West this season and going forward for the next few years. He was able to log heavy minutes, averaging almost 24 minutes a night during the regular season, while playing on the power play (contributing four power play goals and 11 points) and leading the team in ice time on the penalty kill.