In an exciting couple of hours prior to the expansion draft trade freeze, several trades were made that could have major effects on the landscape of the NHL. Perhaps the biggest move of the day saw longtime Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis sent to the Philadelphia Flyers in a three-team trade. With Viktor Arvidsson already sent to the Los Angeles Kings, it appears that the Predators have officially kicked off their rebuild. The full trade is as follows:
- Philadelphia Flyers receive: Defenseman Ryan Ellis
- Nashville Predators receive: Defenseman Philippe Myers and center Cody Glass
- Vegas Golden Knights receive: Center Nolan Patrick
Without further ado, here are our grades:
On the surface, the Flyers are receiving the best player in the trade. Ellis has been among the very best defensemen in the league for several years, and he provides Philadelphia with the No. 1 defenseman that they sorely need. Ellis, along with Ivan Provorov, could form one of the best defense pairings in the league.
Several high-profile right-handed defensemen have been linked to the Flyers this offseason, including Seth Jones and pending free agent Dougie Hamilton. Ellis is an acquisition that almost nobody saw coming, but he may prove to be the shrewdest choice by general manager Chuck Fletcher. While Jones would have cost the Flyers significant assets in a trade, and Hamilton undoubtedly would have commanded serious money on the open market, Ellis comes relatively cheap.
Although Myers and Patrick are both young players with potential, neither one had yet been established as a high-end player. The complexion of this trade for the Flyers could certainly change if the two youngsters manage to reach their ceilings, but as it stands, both are question marks.
The one concern with Ellis is his contract. Though he is well worth his $6.25 million AAV now, he’ll be paid that same sum for the next six years. At 30 years old, the deal could become concerning within a few years, especially given Ellis’s injury history. However, the Flyers deserve high marks for giving up minimal talent from their roster while addressing a pressing need.
FInal Grade: A-
In turn, the Predators are giving up the best player in the trade. Ellis has been a key part of the Nashville blueline for almost a decade, and his departure will hurt in the short term. However, it has become clear that GM David Poile is embarking on, at the very least, a retool, and shedding veteran salary is the right move for a team that can no longer contend with the current corps.
What hurts the Predators in this deal is the underwhelming return. Myers, at 24, likely does not have a ton of room to grow. He is a serviceable NHL defenseman but certainly not a replacement for a bonafide top-pairing defender in Ellis. Glass, the sixth overall pick in 2017, remains highly touted but has stagnated at the NHL level. Vegas’s first-ever draft pick was given ample opportunity to play with top wingers but struggled to remain in the lineup. However, the change of scenery that Nashville offers could help him blossom into the top-line center he was once projected to be.
This move was the right choice given the direction in which Nashville is heading in, but Poile failed to secure fair value for a truly elite blueliner.
Final Grade: B-
Vegas Golden Knights
On the Golden Knights’ end, this deal is a bit perplexing. Glass was certainly struggling, but it seems that it’s too early to give up on their top prospect. He went from an untouchable in the Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty acquisitions to an expendable asset very quickly.
With that said, the swap of Glass and Patrick is not a bad one. The two centers were drafted sixth and second overall in 2017, respectively, and neither one has lived up to that billing. In a vacuum, this is just a change-of-scenery trade for two struggling young players.
It is impossible to draw a conclusion on this deal yet. Whether or not Vegas comes out as winners will depend entirely on which one of Patrick and Glass succeeds most in their new settings. As of right now, one cannot declare which team came out on top in this swap.
Final Grade: B
The Flyers definitely appear to have come out on top of this deal, but that could certainly change in the coming years. It will be fascinating to see how the three young players involved develop with their new teams. Regardless of who ends up the winner, this trade kicks off what should be an active and exciting offseason. Ellis is likely only the first of several high-profile names to be moved before the start of the 2021-22 season.
Jake is a reliable source for the Seattle Kraken here at The Hockey Writers. Hailing from New York City, he is an avid fan of all things hockey and is always involved with the sport, whether that means writing, watching, or playing. An enthusiastic advocate for sports analytics, Jake will often weave them into his posts to support his ideas. More of his work can be found on his Substack page, and he is a contributor with @hky_tapetalk on Instagram. For any questions or inquiries, Jake can be contacted on his Twitter, @jakezrihen.