The Nashville Predators have signed defender Ryan Ellis to an eight-year contract extension worth $50 million, the team announced Tuesday. The contract will come with an annual cap hit of $6.25 million and will kick in at the start of the 2019-20 season. Ellis is currently in the final year of the five-year, $12.5 million contract he signed in Oct. 2014.
The beard is back! #Preds sign defenseman Ryan Ellis to eight-year contract.
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) August 14, 2018
Ellis has played in 396 games with the Predators in his career, entering the league in 2011-12 with three goals and 11 points in 32 games. The 2009 first-round draft pick has become a well-rounded two-way defender who has a tendency to score goals and play a solid brand of two-way hockey in one of the best defensive cores in the entire league.
In his career, he’s scored 55 goals and 173 points and has been a mainstay on the Predators’ blue-line for years. With this new deal, the Predators are committing to him for the long-haul and we shouldn’t be seeing Ellis wear another team’s colors any time soon if at all as this could realistically be Ellis’ last contract in the league.
“Ryan is a huge part of our team on and off the ice and we are happy to have his leadership remain in our locker room for the foreseeable future,” general manager Dave Poile said. “We have talked about wanting to keep the core of our team together, and this is another opportunity to help us do so while continuing to compete for a Stanley Cup. Ryan is entering his prime and is one of the reasons why we feel this team has a chance to win every time we step on the ice.”
Ellis and Predators Win With This Contract
This deal is good for both sides as the Predators are getting Ellis locked up to an affordable cap hit in the prime of his career – though, of note, the deal won’t kick in until Ellis is in his age 28/29 season. There’s always risk associated with eight-year terms, especially when players are already in their late-20s. With that said, the term likely got Ellis under contract for a smaller cap number and given the fact that all 30 other teams in the NHL would have made a call to Ellis as a free agent, the Predators were right in acting quickly with this deal.
Of note here, the Washington Capitals recently locked up defenseman John Carlson to an eight-year contract of his own that’s set to kick in this season. While the term is the same in these two deals, the cap number is significantly different as Carlson is set to receive $64 million over the life of his deal, $14 million more than Ellis will.
While Carlson has proven to be a more consistent offensive point producer, Ellis has proven to be the more well-rounded player of the two – whether that comes as a result of him playing in such a stacked defensive system in Nashville is up for discussion. Either way, Poile was able to lock up Ellis to a very good cap number and it’ll be interesting to see how the deal looks a few years from now.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for seven years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.