Keaton Ellerby. Source: Miami Herald

Panthers Roster: Keaton Ellerby

For the past several years many of the Florida Panthers first round picks have been defencemen, with the exception of Nathan Horton, Anthony Stewart and Rostislav Olesz. Keaton Ellerby was the 10th overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft and was taken for his height, skating ability and passing skills.  All attributes that seemed to mirror that of another defenceman that is now no longer with the team, Jay Bouwmeester. Ellerby even wears Jay’s old number four, which I kinda wish he didn’t.

Ellerby has been slow to develop for a first rounder as he’s seen limited action prior to this season.  He played in 22 games for the Panthers last year, being recalled quite a few times to fill in for injuries, never staying too long, and never playing all that much.  At times he looked like a rookie where the game was just too fast for him.  His reaction time was slow, his movements were at times timid, therefore making him seem to lack confidence.

Ellerby is tall at 6′ 4″ and needs to use his size and speed to be effective.  Putting on some weight will help as I think he brings an element that Jay didn’t have.  My opinion is that Ellerby is capable of playing with more edge than Jay.  If Keaton uses his size to place some hard checks, and clear some players out of the crease, he’ll be a more valuable defender to us, to go along with his offensive skills.

Fast forward to this season and I think you’d agree that finally the maturation process has begun and we’re seeing what we expected to see when he was drafted.  Ellerby had a very good training camp, but because of numbers didn’t make the team.  he was back and forth a bit from Rochester, but since the injury to Bryan McCabe, and now Dmitry Kulikov, it looks as though he’s here to stay.  His passes are sharper, his hits are with more jam, and his head seems to be on straight.

Ellerby has played 31 games so far this season and his ice time is picking up as he’s being used in more sitaution than in the past.  I think that wht more he plays, the more confident he’ll become and we’ll see his game develop.  Defencemen are sometimes fickle in their developement.  It takes some longer to develop than others.  It’s not an easy position to play and there’s a ton of responsibility that goes along with it.  I think that finally Ellerby is ready to emerge as a full time NHL defenceman.  If he’s paired next season with Erik Gudbranson, those two boys are gonna become quite the pair.

So, your thoughts on Ellerby?

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Tags: Anthony Stewart Erik Gudbranson Jay Bouwmeester Keaton Ellerby Nathan Horton

  • slapshot1106

    Nice to see we’re getting something out of some of these past picks.. I still think much of the past drafting strategy and philosophy was majorly flawed, but Garrison looks like a solid everyday player, Ellerby’s showing potential probably more of a 4th, 5th, or 6th Dman…

    Maybe they should be talking to the Avs because it looks like the Blues just gave them 2 young studs for a much lesser return. Stewart’s a legit Top Fwd, Shattenkirk’s a promising offensive Dman, and all they had to give up was a 3rd-4th line fwd, overrated Dman, and a swap of picks.. I think a lot of GMs are wishing they had been in on this deal…

  • Frank Rekas

    Took Ellerby a while but finally seems like he can stick.

    That Avs trade? Wow! We coulda done that! Stewart is a hell of a player and Shattenkirk will be a good defenceman. i don’t understand what Colorado is doing. Or St. Louis for that matter.

    I think we’ll see some movement here soon.

  • slapshot1106

    The sad thing is we seem to say this every year, and then the guys that end up moving are the ones you wouldn’t mind keeping around. Last year was seidenberg, Leopold, and Dominic Moore. I understand why we got rid of them for picks, but I don’t think there will be enough interest here again in the guys we want or need to get rid of…

    Our best chip may have to be a Booth, Kulikov, etc.. I’m not sold at all that Weiss, McCabe, and/or Stillman will be gone. There’s actually more talk of them wanting to stay, but I don’t see that as a positive here. Too many guys trying to stay here in semi-retirement, and that’s what the mentality Tallon has to send a message and change. I think Weiss will waive his no-trade if Tallon sends the message he wants to make changes, but they’ll probably hold onto him at least another year, unless we find a taker like the Avs…

    I think our best bet is to package Booth with a Dman like Kulikov or Ellerby for some sort of legit-type Top6 fwd like a Stewart, and prospect/pick package coming back in return… I think the Kings could use Booth.

    I just hope some changes are made, not just Reasoner, Weaver, etc… That will be just like last year…

  • Frank Rekas

    Slap shot, I agree on all parts. Just cause Weiss says he wants to say and DeBoer says the same thing doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do.
    I have said this many times before, there has been no real pressure here to win in the past. I expect that with Tallon here that will change. The popular move is to keep Weiss, Booth McCabe.

    The Panthers need to realize that this is not a popularity contest. Time for real changes.