The Nashville Predators announced multiple roster casualties today including an injury to first-pair defenceman Ryan Ellis. The Predators have placed Ellis and bottom-six centre Luke Kunin on IR, while Ryan Johansen has entered the COVID-19 protocol. The absences were announced via the Predators PR account on Twitter.
#Preds player updates:
Ryan Ellis has been placed on IR with an upper-body injury and is out 4-6 weeks.
Luke Kunin has been placed on IR with a lower-body injury and is out 2-4 weeks.
Ryan Johansen has been placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list.
— Nashville Preds PR (@PredsPR) March 2, 2021
Ryan Ellis Among Predators Injured
Ryan Ellis will miss an estimated four to six weeks with an upper-body injury. This is a major blow for the Predators, who are treading water at 10-11-0 this season. Ellis has two goals and nine points in 21 games this year. However, statistics aside, he provides immeasurable value to this team as a vocal leader in the dressing room.
Luke Kunin has also picked up an injury and was placed on IR. He will miss two to four weeks with a lower-body injury. Kunin arrived in Nashville during the off-season in a trade involving Nick Bonino, who was sent to the Minnesota Wild. So far, the 23-year-old centre hasn’t made a huge impact offensively (two goals and five points in 17 games).
Finally, Ryan Johansen enters the COVID-protocol and will likely miss at least one week, even if he tests negative. The Predators’ first-line centre had only just returned to action after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. The Predators went 2-5-0 during his first absence.
What This Means Going Forward
Nashville’s multiple player absences have decimated the corps of this team, which will prove tricky given their upcoming schedule. Nine of Nashville’s next 11 games are against the top three teams in the Central Division.
In reaction to the injuries, the Predators have called up forwards Mathieu Olivier and Tanner Jeannot and defenseman Alexandre Carrier from the taxi squad. While Olivier has played 10 games on the fourth line this season, Jeannot could make his NHL debut tonight and Carrier would be making his season debut.
Alexandre Carrier is an interesting Predators prospect but the 24-year-old hasn’t yet become a household name in Smashville; he has played only five NHL games in the last five seasons. In that time, Carrier has 142 points in 279 AHL games. Meanwhile, Nashville signed Jeannot in 2018 to an entry-level deal when he was playing in the Western Hockey League. He has scored 15 goals in 100 AHL games since the signing.