Predators Ryan Ellis Trade Adds Fuel to the Coming Rebuild

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 23: Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis (4) is shown prior to Game 4 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes, held on May 23, 2021, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators engaged in a blockbuster trade over the weekend ahead of the NHL roster freeze by trading home grown fan favorite Ryan Ellis to the Philadelphia Flyers. The deal which was a three way trade involving the Flyers and Vegas Golden Knights resulted in a return of Cody Glass from Vegas and Phillippe Myers from Philadelphia.

The Ryan Ellis trade is a tough pill to swallow as Ellis has been a backbone of the Predators blueline for over 10 seasons, pairing with Roman Josi as one of the best duos in the league. While difficult, the writing has now become firmly etched in permanent marker on the wall: The Nashville Predators are heading for a rebuild.

First the trade of Viktor Arvidsson earlier in the month to the Los Angeles Kings for two draft picks and now this move that brings in more youth. The notion was further cemented by general manager David Poille exposing Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene in the upcoming expansion draft for the Seattle Kraken. While it may seem like a bold choice considering Duchene was highly coveted by the club, signing a seven-year deal in 2019 he hasn’t exactly lived up to all the expectations since his departure from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Johansen who was acquired in a trade back in the 2015-16 season with the Blue Jackets hasn’t helped push the Predators over the edge during their contender years.

At this point Nashville appears ready to try and shed at least one of these mega contracts to open up flexibility even if that means losing one of them for nothing.

Then there are also the coming expirations of both Filip Forsberg and Mattia Ekholm’s contracts after this coming season. With both set to be unrestricted free agents, it will be interesting to see what Poille’s approach will be with both players. Forsberg will be on the back end of his 20s by the expiration of his contract but with his production abilities he could fetch a solid return for a team needing that extra bolt of offense to get over the hump. Ekholm who was drafted in the same year as Ryan Ellis would make a solid defensive addition to any club who also puts up his fair share of points from the backend.

It remains to be seen what comes of the expansion draft but with the club leaving forwards Nick Cousins, Matt Duchene, Rocco Grimaldi, Calle Jarnkrok, Ryan Johansen, Rem Pitlick, Anthony Richard, Colton Sissons and Yakov Trenin available up front and the trades that have already happened, it’s clear the team is ready to get moving on a rebuild.

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