The Nashville Predators have a great deal of talent at the defensive position throughout the organization. Shea Weber and Ryan Suter have emerged as arguably the best defensive pairing in the world. Jonathon Blum and Cody Franson have added their talent and youth to the defensive corps. Will Ryan Ellis join them in Nashville next year?
Assuming that Weber is here, which I am almost 100% sure he will be, that leaves the defensive pairings as follows:
Weber/Suter, Blum/Klein, Franson/TBD.
It's unclear whether or not Shane O'Brien will return to Nashville next season, and the status of Francis Bouillon for next season is still unknown. That leaves the door open for Ellis to make the team out of training camp next year. David Poile said that Ellis had a shot to make the team out of camp if he had a lights out camp.
Ellis is one of the best defensman in the history of the OHL. He played for the Windsor Spitfires. He had 101 points this year as a defenseman in 58 games played for the Spitfires. Obviously, it's going to be a lot tougher in the NHL, but there is no question that Ellis packs an offensive punch from the blueline.
The young defensive talent in the Nashville organization is starting to make its way toward the NHL level. More than likely, Ellis will be called up at some point during the 2011-2012 season. However, I don't think he starts the season in Nashville. Milwaukee has been an excellent tool for developing players in the past. Shea Weber and Ryan Suter both served their time in Milwaukee. Expect Ellis to do the same, unless his training camp is flat out jaw-dropping.