The Nashville Predators failed to protect their lead in the Winter Classic, and came out of it with a significant injury as well. Ryan Ellis has been placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, after taking a shot to the head from Dallas Stars forward Corey Perry early in the outdoor game. The team has recalled Alexandre Carrier from the AHL to take his roster spot.
Ellis was caught with an elbow as Perry went by him, leading to an ejection and likely suspension for the Stars forward. Even if he’s suspended for several games though, it likely won’t have the same level of impact losing Ellis will bring. The Nashville defenseman–who turns 29 today–averages more than 23 minutes a night for the Predators and has 28 points in 39 games. One of the best do-it-all defenders in the league, there are few situations where head coach Peter Laviolette can’t rely on Ellis.
Carrier, 23, has some upside as a puck-moving option but doesn’t have the same defensive polish, especially at the highest level. The fourth-round pick hasn’t played in the NHL since the 2016-17 season, though he was recently named to the AHL All-Star team for his tremendous start with the Milwaukee Admirals.