Numbers Game: Ellis Gets His Chance in Tampa Bay

Scott Cullen
7/1/2010 6:06:15 PM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

Looking for an opportunity to start, Dan Ellis should have a chance to play a more significant role now that he's signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Numbers Game looks at the Lightning's new goaltender.

The Lightning Get: G Dan Ellis.

With Antero Niittymaki leaving Tampa Bay to sign with San Jose, the Lightning needed another goaltender to at least compete for the starting job and Ellis was looking for the chance to at least battle for playing time.

Ellis, 30, opened a lot of eyes in 2007-2008, when he posted a 2.34 goals against average and .924 save percentage in his first NHL season, but since then he's been surpassed by Pekka Rinne on the Nashville Predators' depth chart.

It's not that Ellis has played poorly since then, as last year's .909 save percentage is about league average, but he's worth consideration for a starting job and comes inexpensively as a good backup or potentially inexpensive starter, signing for $3-million over two seasons.

While Ellis was traded from Nashville to Montreal shortly before free agency kicked off, the Canadiens' rising young starter in Carey Price and the kind of money they were willing to pay his backup understandably didn't fit with Ellis' objectives,

Ellis will battle for playing time with Mike Smith, his former teammate from the Dallas Stars organization, who struggled last season.

Since both goaltenders are relatively unproven as NHL starters, it's fair to think that one might start as many as 50 games but, unless one performs at an exceptional level, likely not much more than that.  It could very well end up being a split duty situation.

In Nashville, the Predators will need a goaltender to back up incumbent starter Pekka Rinne, but there shouldn't be any rush.  With proven goaltenders available on the free agent market, and not so many jobs, the Predators can take their time to make the best value selection. 

Scott Cullen can be reached at and followed on Twitter at

Cabbie on

Check out Cabbie's unique take on sports broadcasting and interviewing, poking fun at sports headlines, high-profile athletes and sports personalities. More...

Brendan Shanahan's niece Brenna is an 18-year-old lacrosse player from Mimico, Ontario, who has earned a scholarship to Division 1 Canisius College. More...


TSN 1050: The Bryan Hayes Show: August 22 - Hour 1

Hour 1 of The Bryan Hayes Show. David Branch talked the process of removing fighting from hockey.

TSN 1050: The Bryan Hayes Show: August 22 - Dan Shulman

The voice of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, Dan Shulman joined Bryan Hayes to discuss Mike Trout's fame & baseball's popularity among the youth.

TSN 1050: The Bryan Hayes Show: August 22 - David Branch

OHL Commissioner & CHL President, David Branch to discuss the rules implemented to phase fighting & cheap shots out of Hockey.

More Podcasts

© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television