The Philadelphia Flyers had one of two choices: stay the course or shake some things up.

The team elected to shake things up a bit and dealt their former No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick along with defenseman Philippe Myers to land Nashville defender Ryan Ellis.

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The team added Ellis, is hopes to recreate what they lost then Matt Niskanen unexpectedly retired before last season, leaving a major hole next to Ivan Provorov. The team really struggled on the blue line and are hoping Ellis gives the team a lift on the blue line.

With that context in mind, here’s what some national hockey voices are saying about the Flyers deal with Nashville:

Dom Luszczyszyn from The Athletic, Flyers Grade: A

The Flyers were in the market for a top pairing right shot defender and they got arguably the best one in Ryan Ellis. They swung for the fences and arguably knocked it out of the park, grabbing a smooth-skating rearguard who has a proven track record playing top minutes. Ellis should be a perfect fit next to Ivan Provorov and though it’s unlikely either can carry their own pair, they both should perform admirably playing next to each other.

Ellis was scored just five goals and 18 points in 35 games last season for the Predators.

Scott Burnside from The Athletic, Flyers Grade: A

So much to unpack in this three-team deal that falls just a smidgen short in our books of being a blockbuster. So let’s start with the best player in the deal, Ryan Ellis. Not sure Ellis has ever been the same since being hit early in the 2020 Winter Classic by Corey Perry, but when healthy he checks all the boxes for the Flyers and slides into a top-four role either playing with Provorov or bolstering another top-two unit.

A number of sources we spoke to during the season felt the Flyers never really replaced the presence of Matt Niskanen, who retired before the start of this season, either in terms of minutes played or leadership on and off the ice. Ellis will do all those things and maybe more for a Flyers team that is desperate to step into a contending role.

 

Greg Wyshynski from ESPN, Flyers Grade: A

The Flyers never replaced defenseman Matt Niskanen after his surprising retirement in Oct. 2020, and they suffered for it. Not just in the defensive end of the ice, but for losing someone who can move the puck, too. Ellis is a much better version of that defenseman, and despite the fact he's turning 31 next January, he's a fantastic acquisition for the Flyers.

The trade ends Patrick's brief stay in Philadelphia, after being selected with the second overall pick in 2017.  Injuries hampered him throughout his Flyers career, missing the entire 2019-20 season while dealing with migraines. Patrick had four goals and nine points in 52 games with a minus-30 rating this past season and has 30 goals and 40 assists in his Flyers career.

As for the 24-year old Myers, he is a promising young defenseman, who had a goal and 11 points in 44 games last season.

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