Coming Down the Pipe!: On the Fence With Ryan Ellis

Really, really exceptionally great blog post on Ryan Ellis. Hat tip to The Copper and Blue. Here's the beginning of it, but read the whole thing (follow the link below...).

I’ll admit it; I’m not the biggest believer in Ryan Ellis.

To put this in perspective though… on The Pipeline Show we talk about everything in Major Junior, NCAA and minor pro but being based in Edmonton, we don’t get to watch a lot of OHL hockey. My own personal viewings of Ryan Ellis are limited to the 2009 World Junior Championship in Ottawa and the recent Memorial Cup in Rimouski – and both on TV, which I’ve never believed gives a complete picture of a player if you are really trying to "scout" him.

Thankfully in our line of work we speak with a lot of people who do get to watch the players first hand, whether it be media colleagues that are on hand, other players or the network of people employed in the hockey world including scouts, coaches and GMs from various levels. Tapping into that network is how I round out my personal opinion or expectations of a player – sometimes that works out well and sometimes it doesn’t.

My opinion right now on Ryan Ellis is that he’s a fantastic junior hockey player, maybe one of the best in the history of junior hockey, but that he’s going to have a hell of a time making a career in the NHL.

His offensive numbers this year with the Windsor Spitfires were unreal – 89 points in 57 games and 31 more in the 20 playoff games that followed. Considering how much hockey he played this year including the extra tournaments, I think he deserves a ton of credit for not running out of gas like a lot of players might.

Ellis has a wicked, booming shot that has become his trademark. As he told us on the show back in November, most (if not all) of his 15 goals in 2007-08 came from the top of the circles courtesy the mighty slapper he has at his disposal.

Despite a lack of stature Ellis isn’t shy of the open ice hit, just ask 6’5 Rimouski forward Keven Veilleux. The 5’10 blueliner stepped into Velleux during the Memorial Cup and the Penguins prospect lost his wind, a few shifts and maybe a couple of teeth before he managed to get back into the game.

According to everyone I’ve spoken with, his strongest asset sits between his ears – there is no question that Ellis thinks the game as well as anyone his age. He’s a tactical assassin that knows when to pinch in on the power play, where to find the open man with a stretch pass or how to angle off a forward to break up an attack. Ellis can quarterback a power play as effectively as anyone in junior hockey, and maybe arguably as well as some right now in the NHL.

Did I mention that I’m not a big believer?

read the rest: Coming Down the Pipe!: On the Fence With Ryan Ellis.