The verdict is in on the Teemu Laakso decision: Nashville did not need a fill-in for an injured top-six defenseman. Instead Laakso appears to be up with the Predators as a spare defenseman, a role he played at a few points during the regular season. With the series in Vancouver, Nashville coach Barry Trotz and G.M. David Poile want to make sure they had a quick option to turn to if necessary.
I think it’s pretty clear that this decision by the Predators is a crippling one for the Milwaukee Admirals, but I shall speculate that Laakso will be back once the series shifts to Nashville for games three and four. If the Predators need Teemu on short notice, flights from Milwaukee or Houston are not difficult to arrange.
So it looks like Admirals coach Lane Lambert will be without Laakso for at least Game 1. Nashville and Vancouver’s second game is on Saturday, meaning Teemu could be available for Game 2 of Milwaukee and Houston with some well-executed travel arrangements. There is an extra day break for the Predators and Canucks between Games 2 and 3, so that would make the most sense for a short return.
However, Jim Parker of the Windsor Star appears to have Ryan Ellis already on his way to Milwaukee as of last night pending it made public:
“The club will lose some veterans.
Captain Ryan Ellis will graduate and left to join Nashville’s top farm team in Milwaukee.”
The key word there being: “left.”
However, until I can confirm that fact, Lambert will just have to wait before he can plug the Predators prized prospect into his Admirals lineup.
(As of now Ellis is a confirmed Admiral).
PS. Trotz lashed out harshly at what he felt was a pretty disappointing effort from his hockey club in a 1-0 loss to Vancouver, especially from his forwards. Therefore, I expect a lineup change or two for Game 2. However, Trotz went out his way to praise his top-six defensemen, so one of those lineup insertions won’t likely be Laakso.
UPDATE: As of 12:29 this afternoon, Ryan Ellis is officially a Milwaukee Admiral. He has signed ATO (Amateur Try-Out Contract). Congrats to Ellis for taking the next step in his career and Milwaukee for getting a great player. The next question is when will Lambert get him into the lineup? Expect soon.