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New Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis excited to ‘get settled and start a chase for the Cup’

Ellis, a veteran acquired in a blockbuster deal Saturday, joins the Flyers as they try to make vast improvement this season.

Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis celebrates after teammate Ryan Johansen scored a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 4 of this year's playoffs.
Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis celebrates after teammate Ryan Johansen scored a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 4 of this year's playoffs.Read moreMark Humphrey / AP

If you Google the words Ryan Ellis, Nashville Predators, and shoulder surgery, you will get nearly a half million stories, many explaining how the defenseman returned from shoulder surgery to play in the 2021 playoffs.

He was asked about the injury Tuesday and if he was feeling 100 percent.

“I don’t know what shoulder you’re talking about,” Ellis said in a Zoom call with reporters, introducing the Flyers’ new top-pairing defenseman. “I shattered my knuckle last year, so that was what I missed time for. Other than that, no, I’m good. I’m healthy. I’m hungry and I’m happy and excited to be a member of the Flyers.”

Ellis, 30, later said he had “no idea” why there were erroneous reports about his shoulder. “I just broke a bone in my hand,” he said.

So the Flyers are getting someone with a sound shoulder and a hand that has healed and did not require surgery.

They are also getting someone with poise, experience and talent, a player they hope can help Ivan Provorov — his likely defensive partner — blossom.

» READ MORE: The Flyers, who will lose a player in the expansion draft, could land winger Vladimir Tarasenko. Is he worth the risk?

Ellis said a handful of Flyers players have contacted him since he was acquired Saturday in a deal that sent Phil Myers and Nolan Patrick to Nashville. Patrick was then dealt to Vegas for Cody Glass.

“I’ve spoken to five or six guys. They were nice enough to reach out after the trade and [answer] just some basic questions,” Ellis said. “It’s middle of summer. I’m sure they’re busy. I’ve gotten a lot busier over the past couple days, trying to sort everything out for me and my family. Just looking forward to getting there and getting started.”

Ellis, a righthander, admitted he hasn’t seen Provorov play that often since the Flyers and Predators are in different conferences and didn’t meet last season in a revamped schedule caused by the pandemic.

“I know he’s an unbelievable player. He’s got terrific skill. I’ve seen him score some awesome goals on the highlights,” said Ellis, who spent 10 seasons with the Predators. “Him being in the East and us in the West previously, I just didn’t see him a lot, to be honest.”

Being traded for the first time was “sad” and a “bit of a shock to the system to me and my family,” he said. “Nothing but looking forward from here. We’re excited to get there, get settled and start a chase for the Cup.”

An associate captain in Nashville, Ellis hasn’t been told yet if he’ll be part of the Flyers’ leadership group.

“I haven’t even thought that far ahead,” he said. “I know they have a great core. The core has been there for a long time. They’ve had a lot of success. To be honest, I’m just looking forward to jumping in and being another player. To contribute any way I can, whether it be on the ice or off. Just be another guy in the room trying to chase something together.”

Actually, the Flyers haven’t had much success. They have missed the playoffs in five of the last nine years, during which they have won just one playoff round.

That’s one of the reasons they dealt for Ellis, hoping he can solidify a defense that allowed the most goals in the NHL last season.

“I’m excited at the next chapter,” he said. “... I honestly haven’t even talked to all [his former Nashville teammates] yet because it’s been so busy the last few days. Like I said, [I’m] moving forward and moving on. I’m excited to be a part of the Flyers organization. … Honestly, once I’m settled, have my family all settled, everything’s kind of played out, and I’m back on the ice with the guys, I think that will be the time everything will calm down for me personally.”

Ellis said he approaches each game trying “to do whatever the team needs at the time to win, whether it be blocking shots or making defensive plays. If we’re down, it might be cheating on offense, trying to make plays happen offensively. Honestly, I just pride myself on being a team-first guy.”

» READ MORE: The Ryan Ellis trade was just the beginning of the Flyers’ makeover | On the Fly