Ryan Ellis is back in Nashville.
The 23-year-old defenseman agreed to terms Thursday night on a five-year, $12.5 million contract. Ellis joined his teammates on Friday for off-ice workouts before addressing the media at Centennial Sportsplex this afternoon.
“It was tough,” Ellis said of waiting to get a deal done. “I was ready to come [to Nashville] a couple of weeks ago and get everything ready, but obviously it just didn’t come together. It took some time but I’m more than happy to be here. It’s finally all done, it’s over with and we move forward. Now it’s all about the season.”
The new deal will keep Ellis in Predators Gold for the next half-decade, a fact that the defenseman is more than content with.
“I’m very happy,” Ellis said. “I’ve been part of the franchise for five years and this will be my fourth season, so I’m excited to get it all going. Sitting out a week was tough… But I’m finally here and I get to partake.”
Ellis, who had been skating with his junior team, the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League, to stay in shape, is eager to start learning the new on-ice systems in Nashville, implemented by Head Coach Peter Laviolette.
“Everything’s new around here,” Ellis said. “There are big changes so I’m getting caught up to speed with everything that’s new in the program and new in our systems. Obviously I haven’t taken part in anything yet, so it’s tough to see where I would fit in and how everything will go, but I’m excited. It’s a new start, it’s a new chapter of the history of this franchise and hopefully it’s a successful one.”
The club participated in off-ice workouts this morning at Centennial. There was no on-ice session. Nashville hosts the Florida Panthers Saturday afternoon and evening in a preseason doubleheader, with puck drop for both games set for 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.