The Predators significantly clarified their goaltending situation today, announcing they have reached an agreement in principle with Dan Ellis on a multi-year deal and then trading Chris Mason to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a fourth round pick in this year’s draft. The trade gives the Predators nine selections in this year’s Entry Draft, including multiple picks in first, second, and fourth rounds and single picks in the third, fifth, and sixth rounds.
"I'm really excited to be able to come back with Nashville," Ellis said. "It's where my wife and I really wanted to be all along. We enjoyed it last year and feel the team is moving in the right direction, too. As a team we were pretty close to being right there last season and I'm confident we'll be improved next season."
The two transactions signify the team is likely to enter training camp with a goaltending tandem of Ellis and elite prospect Pekka Rinne
at the NHL level. Rookie pro Mark Dekanich appears slated for Milwaukee with the organization likely in the market for an AHL veteran to help mentor Dekanich this season. However, with Dekanich – who just completed a successful four-year NCAA career at Colgate – and last year’s second round pick Jeremy Smith
both in the pipeline, the future prospects for Milwaukee look very promising beyond this season.
Ellis, who turned 28 yesterday (June 19), led the National Hockey League in save percentage (.924) in addition to tying for third in the NHL and establishing a franchise record in shutouts (6) in his first full season with Nashville in 2007-08.
"For this to fall on my birthday is pretty special. I got the call from my agent last night, so that made yesterday one the better birthdays I've had and definitely one that'll remember for quite some time."
A Newmarket, Ont., native, Ellis was origianally signed as a free agent by the club last July. He was an integral part of Nashville’s late-season run which enabled the club to clinch its fourth consecutive playoff berth, posting a 17-6-3 mark over his final 26 decisions, which included a franchise-record 233:38 shutout streak from March 22-30 (which also ranks fifth-best in the League’s modern era).