Ryan Ellis to make NHL debut tonight…

Ryan Ellis (Sarah Fuqua)

According to both Joshua Cooper of The Tennessean and Ryan Porth of Smashville 24/7, Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber left the ice during morning skate and never returned. With Kevin Klein also out (flu), the Predators have apparently recalled defenseman Ryan Ellis from the AHL affiliate Milwaukee Admirals.

No official word has been sent out but his name appears on the NHL roster on the team’s official website.

The 20-year old Freelton, Ontario native was the captain of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires and is the most decorated defenseman in Canadian Major Junior History. In his career already Ellis has the following awards in his trophy case: the 2008 Bobby Smith Trophy (the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year), the 2009 Max Kaminsky Trophy (OHL Defenceman of the Year), the 2011 Red Tilson Award (OHL’s most outstanding player), two Wayne Gretzky Trophies (the OHL’s West Conference Championship), two J. Ross Robertson Cups (the OHL Championship), two Memorial Cups (the CHL Championship), a gold medal at the 2009 World Junior Championships, two silver medals from the World Juniors (2010, 2011), a gold medal at the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, a gold medal at the 2008 Under-18 World Championships and a gold medal at the 2008 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. This past season he was named he CHL’s Player of the Year and won the 2011 Mickey Renaud Captain’s Trophy.

Ellis is the leading scorer among Admirals defenseman with 17 points.

He should also provide a boost to the power play unit as he has a shot similar to Weber’s.

Expect low minutes on the third pairing for Ellis but also expect a energetic game. It will be his NHL debut.

He will be the fifth Nashville Predator to make his NHL debut this season and the second to do it against the Red Wings. Roman Josi had one shot on goal, one hit and logged 12:20 of ice time in his maiden voyage back in Detroit on November 26.

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UPDATE (3:28 pm Central): The official press release is below.

Nashville, Tenn. (December 26, 2011) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has recalled defenseman Ryan Ellis from Milwaukee (AHL). The Freelton, Ont., native is scheduled to make his NHL debut tonight against the Detroit Red Wings.

Ellis, 20 (1/3/91), is tied for ninth among American Hockey League defensemen, and tied for first among rookie blueliners, in points with 17 (4g-13a) in 26 games. One of the most decorated defensemen in Canadian Hockey League history, Ellis became just the third d-man in Ontario Hockey League history to record 300 career points (73g-241a-314pts, +145, 207 PIMs, 226 gp), joining Rick Corriveau (329) and Denis Potvin (330) a season ago, winning the 2011 Red Tilson Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year, the 2011 Max Kaminsky Trophy for the second time in three years as the League’s Most Outstanding Defenseman of the Year and the Mickey Renaud Captain’s Trophy for leadership on and off the ice.

The 11th overall (first round) selection in the 2009 Entry Draft is also one of just seven players to represent Canada at three straight World Junior Championships (2009, 2010 and 2011), and just the fourth Canadian ever to win three medals at the WJC. With 25 points (5g-20a) in three tournaments, he is the all-time leading defensive scorer in the history of the event.

Fresh off the two-day Christmas break, the Predators will look to make it six consecutive home victories tonight when they host the Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m. Fox Sports Tennessee, 102.5 The Game). The Preds will continue to enjoy home cooking for the majority of the next two-plus weeks with seven of their next nine game to be played on Bridgestone Arena ice. Tickets are available and may be purchased at nashvillepredators.comticketmaster.com or by calling 615-770-PUCK (7825).

PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Fuqua // Flickr (used with permission)