Nashville’s Ryan Ellis out 4-6 months after knee surgery

Nashville defenceman Ryan Ellis will need a full six months to recover from off-season knee surgery, and general manager David Poile says they don’t expect him back until possibly 2018.

Poile gave an update on injuries Thursday to Ellis and new centre Nick Bonino after a rookies’ practice. Both were hurt during the Stanley Cup Final that Nashville lost in six games to Pittsburgh , and Bonino was playing for the Penguins.

“The discussion with our doctors at this time, they would like to take it a little bit slower with his recovery,” Poile said of Ellis.

The original timetable called for a recovery of four to six months. Poile said the Predators and doctors feel Ellis will need the full six months to recover.

“Ryan is not skating yet, probably will be skating in approximately another three weeks and the recovery will go from there,” Poile said. “We don’t expect him back until at the end of the year, maybe the New Year, maybe right around Christmas time.”

Ellis scored 38 points in 71 games last season, but he was even better during the playoffs. Ellis tied Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen for third among the Predators with 13 points. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Ellis paired with Mattias Ekholm to help anchor the Nashville defence along with All-Star P.K. Subban and Romani Josi.

The defenceman even played despite being hurt in the decisive Game 6 before having surgery. His recovery is why the Predators traded with the Vegas Golden Knights to acquire defenceman Alexei Emelin.

“Obviously we had a little bit of a heads up and that is really one of the reasons why we got Emelin from Las Vegas to add to not only our depth but the quality of our defence,” Poile said.

The general manager says Bonino, who broke a foot in the final, will not be playing in any preseason games. The Predators signed Bonino away from Pittsburgh with a four-year, $16.4 million deal in July as protection when captain Mike Fisher later announced his retirement.

“We are very hopeful that he will be ready at or near the beginning of the season,” Poile said.

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