Nov 18: Vigneault gave an updated timeline for Ellis today, telling reporters including Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer that the defenseman will miss four to six weeks. The plan right now is rehab, not surgery.
Nov 15: The Philadelphia Flyers got Ryan Ellis back for less than 19 minutes of ice time. The veteran defenseman re-injured himself in Saturday’s game and is now out week-to-week, according to head coach Alain Vigneault.
It’s a brutal setback for one of the Flyers’ big offseason acquisitions, who has played extremely well whenever he’s been healthy enough to do so. Ellis has five points in four games on the year but now faces another uncertain timeline for his return. The team has had a very up-and-down season so far, with a 7-4-2 record through 13 games. They’ve looked both like a tight-checking contender (with strong goaltending to boot) and a disorganized mess at times, flip-flopping through performances like the ones they had at Carolina and Dallas the last two games. Losing Ellis, who was expected to step into a huge role on the back end, means that there will be more shuffling to try and figure out the best lineup moving forward.
Not only is this a concern for this season, but Ellis has certainly not been a model of health over the last several seasons. In 2017-18 he missed half the year following knee surgery, in 2019-20 he spent nearly two months on injured reserve after suffering a concussion in the Winter Classic, and last season played just 35 games after shattering his knuckle. While those are obviously very separate incidents, it’s been a tough go for the 30-year-old defenseman.
When the Flyers acquired him, Ellis was seen as a potential fixture on the blueline for the next half-decade. His contract, which carries a $6.25MM cap hit, extends through 2026-27. A supremely talented two-way defender, the Flyers will have to hope he can get back on the ice in the coming weeks to start paying dividends on that deal.