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Ryan Ellis makes 2012-13 debut in AHL after broken wrist

Nov 23, 2012, 8:11 PM EDT

Ryan Ellis #49 of the Nashville Predators skates against Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Detroit Red Wings at the Bridgestone Arena on December 26, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.
(December 25, 2011 - Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

When this lockout ends — and someday it will — the Nashville Predators will face the task of staying competitive without Ryan Suter. That task will rely heavily on their young and emerging defensemen, like Ryan Ellis.

Like many other emerging talents, Ellis was given the option to develop his game in the AHL for the duration of the lockout, but he couldn’t take full advantage of that opportunity at first due to a broken wrist. Now he’s better and was able to make his 2012-13 debut on Tuesday.

Ellis is known for his offensive abilities, but as long as the lockout is forcing him to play in the minors, the Predators are hoping that he’ll work on honing his defensive game, according to the Tennessean.

“No question, with his size, he will have to work at that end of his game,” Admirals coach Dean Evason said. “He knows how to defend. It’s now a matter of defending against bigger, stronger men.”

Ellis split the 2011-12 campaign between the AHL and NHL and ended up playing in three contests during the Predators 2012 playoff run. Suter’s departure presents Ellis with an opportunity, but he’ll have to compete with Nashville’s other promising young defensemen, Roman Josi and Jonathon Blum, for playing time and maybe even a roster spot once the lockout ends.

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