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2009 Draft: Poile Talks About Day 1

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators

Predators 2009 First Round Pick Ryan Ellis
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After Day 1 of the 2009 Draft, caught up with Preds GM David Poile to recap the first round and Preds pick Ryan Ellis. Can you give us a scouting report on this year’s first round pick, Ryan Ellis?
David Poile: Ryan Ellis is the most dynamic player in the draft. Offensively he is by far the best defenseman in the draft. He’s a player who can run the power-play, be a key part to making a power-play successful. The weakness in his game – and the only weakness – is his size. Each time he’s moved up to the next level, he’s had to battle questions about his size, but he’s been successful at every stop. We think he’s so special in his talent and his offensive abilities, and he’ll find a way to be successful at the NHL level? Is Ellis a similar player to Jon Blum?
DP: In the fact they both can bring offense from the defense position, yes a bit. But with respect to Blum, Jon is more of an all-around defenseman, where Ellis is clearly a special offensive player; he does things that not too many players can do. He was the leading scoring defenseman in his league last year as a draft-year kid, seventh overall in the OHL. He could be the leading scorer in the league next season … as a defenseman. That’s stuff that’s reserved for players like Bobby Orr. But with Ellis and Blum we feel we have two of the top offensive defensemen in the Canadian Junior ranks. Again, we want to become a better offensive team and we have to get there with our forwards, but it’s nice to have that element on our defense. Besides his skill, what makes Ryan Ellis so attrictive to the Predators?
DP: For us to pick a guy at No. 11, we're looking to take the best player for our organization, so the skill is the top priority, but there are so many good things to Ellis. He’s friends with Chet Pickard and Colin Wilson, our first round picks from last year, and played with Chet at last year’s World Junior Championships. You have some built-in chemistry there. He comes from a winning organization; Windsor won the Memorial Cup this season. He’ll probably be back there next year and they have a chance again to be a top team and win again. Windsor’s coach, Bob Boughner, we know well from his days with the Predators. Boughner is going to be the National Team coach in Canada for the World Juniors. So there are just a lot of good things that fit for us taking Ryan Ellis. Were you surprised at how the top of the draft played out?
DP: For having the 11th pick, we were pretty bang on for the first six or seven picks. We felt it was going to be real close as we always seem to be. But this was the guy we had targeted based on our spot and that’s who we were able to get. Now that Round 1 is completed, do you like how things set up tomorrow for Day 2?
DP: We have a lot of picks and when you have multiple picks in rounds it allows you to have a lot of flexibility and maybe take more chances or zone in on a certain type of players. I’ll probably make a few trades tomorrow, too – moving up or moving back or getting extra picks for 2010. So I know tomorrow will be a very active day for the Predators.

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