By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Chuck Fletcher has found his top-pair defenseman. The Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon acquired right-handed blueliner Ryan Ellis from the Nashville Predators before the NHL’s roster freeze went into effect.

The Flyers traded defenseman Philippe Myers and Nolan Patrick to the Predators. Nashville then moved Patrick to the Vegas Golden Knights for center Cody Glass, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Frank Seravalli first reported the trade.

Ellis, 30, joins the Flyers with six years left on an eight-year contract with a $6.25 cap hit. He’s a right-handed shot who projects to play on the Flyers’ top pair alongside Ivan Provorov.

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“Ryan is an excellent all-around defenseman. In our opinion, he is one of the best passers in the game on the blue line. He’s great in transition. He can play the power play. He’s got a heavy shot and he’s a very good penalty killer,” Fletcher said on a video conference call with reporters. “He’s been part of the leadership group in Nashville for a while. He’s a competitive, team-oriented type of player. We think he’s a really well-rounded hockey player, a quality person and somebody that we feel very fortunate that we were able to add to our group today.”

Last season, Ellis was limited to 35 games due to an upper-body injury. He finished with five goals and 18 points with a plus-1 rating. Before the 2020-21 season, Ellis was a rock on the Nashville blue line.

The 10-year veteran has 270 career points in 562 points, all with Nashville. He comes with playoff experience, appearing in 74 career games, scoring 38 points and averaging almost 24 minutes per game.

Fletcher is confident Ellis will remain productive as he enters his 30’s.

“It’s a fair question. That’s a concern with everybody. He’s 30 years old. We believe he has good hockey ahead of him. It’s tough to predict injuries, certainly is a man that plays hard. There’s no reason to think that he can’t,” Fletcher said. “We like him a lot as a player. We like the cap hit. We think it’s a fair number and we also like the fact that he’s already signed. He’s not a player that we traded for and now have to turn around and find a way to sign a contract in the next year or so. You bring some cost certainty. We can plug that number in over the next few years. Again, I think it’s a very fair cap number for the quality of hockey player that we acquired.”

Myers was an undrafted free agent signing who spent part of three seasons with the Flyers, registering 29 points in 115 regular-season games. He’s a right-handed shot with untapped potential on a good contract.

Patrick was the No. 2 overall pick in 2017, but a slew of injuries and a migraine disorder held him back in Philadelphia. Patrick will get a fresh start in Vegas.

“Yeah, it was very difficult. We certainly were not looking to move them. David Poile, give him credit. He wanted to add some younger quality pieces to his roster. We went back and forth for a while and various scenarios. This is what we settled on,” Fletcher said. “Phil Myers is a young man who is going to be a real good defenseman in this league for a long time. I still believe in Patty. Last year, I thought, was a step forward for him in terms of his health and getting back on the ice. I think the production will come and the confidence will come as he continues in his career.”

“As you said, you have to give to get and we feel we have a lot of quality young players still in our system, a lot of quality prospects still in our system. We still have all of our draft picks. We’re going to need a lot of young assets to fill in,” Fletcher added. “It is a flat cap era. I think we feel comfortable with the quality and quantity of the young players that we still have in our organization, but the opportunity to add a player like Ryan was too good to pass up. He’s what we need at this time.”

The NHL roster freeze went into effect at 3 p.m. Saturday ahead of Wednesday’s expansion draft. Saturday was also the deadline for NHL teams to submit their expansion draft protection list to the Seattle Kraken.

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The protected lists will be known to the public on Sunday.