Monday, July 8, 2013

Ryan Ellis Autograph Card

And now for the third part in my 2012-13 Fleer Retro (by Upper Deck) box break, a card featuring none other than a Nashville Predators prospect I briefly mentioned yesterday, Ryan Ellis:
He's seen sporting the Preds' ugly yellow (home) uniform, one I find is way too similar to opponents' whites when they're confronted at Bridgestone Arena; they should have remained with some sort of combination using a dark shade of blue and grey. Just like yesterday's Jonathan Blum card, this card uses the design of the 1996-97 Skybox Autographics design  and is #96-RE in the set; this particular card, like the Blum one is from Group 'E' - found in every ten packs. Luckily there are 22 of them, so despite their large numbers, one would still be unlikely to stumble upon multiple copies of the same card. It was signed in blue sharpie, on a sticker.

Ryan Ellis was a first-round pick, chosen 11th overall in 2009, behind (in order) John Tavares, Victor Hedman, Matt Duchene, Evander Kane, Brayden Schenn, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Nazem Kadri, Scott Glennie, Jared Cowen and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, and ahead of Dmitri Kulikov (14th), Nick Leddy (16th), Louis Leblanc (18th), Chris Kreider (19th), Jordan Caron (25th), Simon Després (30th), Jakob Silfverberg (39th), Robin Lehner (46th), Brandon Pirri (59th), Tomas Tatar (60th), Ryan Bourque (80th), David Savard (94th), Gabriel Bourque (132nd), and Gabriel Dumont (139th). All in all, it was a pretty good year.

Ellis is a stud defenseman who will be on the team's top pairing for years, perhaps even decades. He has won two Memorial Cups, and holds defenseman scoring records both for the OHL's Windsor Spitfires (ahead of a certain Joel Quenneville) and Team Canada at the World Juniors, where he also holds the country's assists mark. And while he lost the 2009 CHL defenseman of the year to Blum, he won it in 2011, along with the Player Of The Year award - a feat unheard of since Bryan Fogarty did it 22 years prior.

He has won gold at the U-17, and both versions of the U-18 (the regular IIHF one and the Ivan Hlinka Memorial), to go with one gold (2009) and two silver medals (2010, 2011) at the World Juniors.

An injury sustained at his first training camp with the Predators prevented him from dominating offensively for the 2009-10 season, but he honed his defensive skills the whole year to end up being ''the complete package'': sound defensively, great passer, speedy, and with a hard, accurate shot. Not all that physical (he is relatively small at 5'9''), he is more Kristopher Letang than P.K. Subban. He's got the right stuff, that's for sure.

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