Revisiting Flyers’ Trade for Ryan Ellis After 1 Season

Since Philippe Myers has now been traded again, this seems like a good time to revisit the trade that sent him to the Nashville Predators. The Philadelphia Flyers had a big need to fill, and they pulled off what I still believe to be a stellar trade, acquiring Ryan Ellis despite his long-term injury. The Flyers got Ellis from the Predators, Nashville ended up with Myers and Cody Glass, and the Vegas Golden Knights landed Nolan Patrick.

Ryan Ellis, Philadelphia Flyers
Ryan Ellis, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Nothing went right last season for the Flyers, and it wasn’t just due to Ellis’ injury. More than one key player missed time, and it turned into a season of development that led to many changes with more to come. The Flyers still believe their window to compete is open, and they are right. They will be big-game hunting in free agency, they should have most of their players back for the start of the season, and Ivan Provorov will get his defense partner.

What Philippe Myers & Nolan Patrick Have Done Since the Trade

Though Myers had shown potential during his short time with the Flyers, he didn’t play well or receive very much playing time with the Predators, getting into just 27 games. He scored one goal and four points, playing four minutes less per game than in the previous season with the Flyers.

Related: Flyers’ 2 Best Free Agent Options at Each Position

He again spent no time on the power play and very little shorthanded. Myers had very good Corsi stats when he was with the Flyers, but that completely flipped with the Predators, where he was below average. The team elected to play defensemen like Matt Benning and Mark Borowiecki over Myers, and there is talk that he is a buyout candidate.

After Myers was thrown into the deal where the Predators acquired Ryan McDonagh in a Tampa Bay Lighting cap dump, they didn’t have to buy his contract out. The Lightning dealt McDonagh to the Predators for Myers and Grant Mismash. Elliott Friedman provided information on what a buyout would look like for Myers and the Lightning, suggesting it very well may happen, but general manager Julian BriseBois put that to rest.

As for Patrick, his injury-riddled career didn’t get any better with the Golden Knights this season. He played just 25 games, scoring two goals and seven points, which was not much better than his last season with the Flyers. When he did play, he also had a lesser role, averaging just 11:30 per game.

He played a bit on the power play due to all of the injuries to Vegas’ top players but wasn’t very successful. He still has one more year on his deal at a very reasonable price before becoming a restricted free agent, but he has only shown a decline with the many injuries he has to deal with.

Unfortunate Injury for Ellis

The Flyers, unfortunately, only got Ellis for four games last season, but he showed them exactly what he can provide, scoring one goal and five points to begin the season before his injury. It has been a long discussion, but the thought is that Provorov needs a defense partner like Ellis to stabilize his game since he hasn’t had one since Matt Niskanen.

Ellis may not be a true number one defenseman, but this is what Chuck Fletcher had to say about him:

“Ryan is an excellent all-around defenseman. In our opinion, he’s one of the best passers in the game on the blue line. He’s great in transition, he can play the power play, he’s got a heavy shot, and he’s a very good penalty killer. He’s been part of the leadership group in Nashville for a while. He is a competitive, team-oriented type of player. We think he’s a really well-rounded hockey player, a quality person and somebody that we feel very fortunate that we were able to add to our group today.”

Chuck Fletcher

His breakout ability and transition game will help generate more offense for the Flyers, an area where they need to improve. At the same time, he can bolster the penalty kill and power play, two other areas that are in dire need of a boost. Though the left side defense may be in question, Ellis would create stability on the right side if he can remain healthy. He has played just 39 of a possible 136 games over the past two seasons but was generally able to stay healthy and play most games each season earlier in his career.

Ryan Ellis, Philadelphia Flyers
Ryan Ellis, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Ellis has the veteran leadership to help out the generally younger Flyers core while he can assume the role of the top unit defenseman on the power play. He should be able to work well with new head coach John Tortorella in executing a better penalty kill as well, as he played 2:32 per game shorthanded in his final season in Nashville.

While Myers and Patrick are both young and unproven, Ellis has proven how important he is to a team and just how effective he can be on the blue line. The Flyers aren’t missing much from what they traded away to acquire him but could see the trade start to pay off in a big way next season.

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