Predators nab ‘offensive’ defenseman with first pick

Friday, June 26, 2009 at 10:53pm
Staff Reports

Ryan Ellis, whose scouting report is laden with superlatives, was the Nashville Predators first pick in the 2009 National Hockey League Draft in Montreal on Friday.

Called a “a really smart, heady defenseman” with excellent puck movement, the Hamilton, Ontario, native was chosen 11th overall, and his selection continued a trend of Nashville’s alternating between forwards and defensemen with first-round picks since 2000.

“He’s probably the most dynamic player in the draft and by far the best offensive defenseman in the draft,” said Nashville's General Manager David Poile

Ellis brings with him a Nashville connection. His Windsor (OHL) Spitfires coach is former Pred defenseman Bob Boughner, a fan favorite who brought a mixture of skill and toughness to the ice.

“I've only been in the (OHL) three years and other coaches I talk to, they've never seen a defenseman have an impact in a junior game like Ryan Ellis,” Boughner said. “He seems to be in on every play defensively and offensively. And his biggest asset is his shot. He's got an NHL one-timer, he's got an NHL slap shot, and that's a dangerous weapon.”

Ellis notched 22 goals and 67 assists in 57 games for the Spitfires last season. He also stood out on Team Canada's Gold Medal World Junior Team.

Follow the Predators' second through seventh-round selections on Saturday here.