Ellis ink NHL deals
Dan Ellis made 117 starts in three seasons at Nebraska-Omaha.
Two of the
CCHA's top talents – Nebraska-Omaha goaltender Dan Ellis
and Ohio State forward Ryan Kesler – signed National Hockey
League contracts Monday, becoming the latest in the flood of underclassmen
to opt for the professional ranks.
Kesler, a first-round
choice of the Vancouver Canucks in June's NHL Entry Draft, leaves
Ohio State after just one season with the Buckeyes. He was named
the team's rookie of the year after scoring 11 goals and 20 assists
for 31 points in 40 games as a freshman. The Livonia, Mich., product
boosted his draft ranking with a tremendous effort at last year's
IIHF World Junior Championship, ranking second on the U.S. team
with seven points.
skate, he's big, he finishes, he finishes checks," Vancouver
general manager Brian Burke told INCH in Nashville after selecting
Kesler with the 23rd overall selection in the draft two months
ago. "He's not a sniper, but he has natural scoring ability."
the dotted line...
and Ellis are the ninth and tenth players to forego the
remainder of their college careers in favor of professional
contracts. Check out the complete list of pro
signees, then take a look at the Flight
Risks we're keeping an eye on.
comes as somewhat of a surprise. Most people, including Burke,
assumed OSU senior-to-be R.J. Umberger, who was picked by the
Canucks in the first round of the 2001 NHL Draft, would forego
his final year of eligibility in favor of a professional career.
never taken a player out of school early unless they've wanted
to come," Burke told INCH at the June draft. "I think
R.J. is ready to come out. Again, I talked to Coach (John) Markell
and told him what I just said to you guys...that we'd never take
a player out early. If R.J. wants to come out, then we're going
to try to sign him. He's got to take the next step at some point."
Ellis, who would've
been a senior this season, inked a three-year deal with the Dallas
Stars, the team that selected him in the second round of the 2000
NHL Entry Draft. The Orangeville, Ont., native, was a workhorse
for the Mavericks between the pipes. In three seasons, he started
117 games and logged 6,900 minutes en route to a 53-50-12 career
record. He also posted a 2.69 career goals against average and
a 91.0% save percentage.
very excited for Dan and we think he has all the tools to excel
at the next level," UNO coach Mike Kemp said in a prepared
statement. "Having guys like Dan Ellis mature and develop
in our program is very gratifying."
stable of netminders for the upcoming season is extremely green.
Senior Brian Haaland has played in nine career games, with redshirt
freshman Kris Tebbs and rookie Chris Holt also in the mix.
Ellis, meanwhile, joins a rich goaltending corps in the Dallas
organization. Michigan alum Marty Turco is solidly entrenched
as the starter, and the Stars boast prospects in Michigan native
Jason Bacashihua (a 2001 first-round draft pick) and Swiss netminder
Tobias Stephan (a second-round choice in 2002).
coach George Gwozdecky learned one of his recruits will not embark
on a college career. Forward-defenseman Ty Morris signed with
the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League last week.
A native of Millet, Alberta, Morris had 28 goals and 54 assists
for the Alberta Junior Hockey League's St. Albert Saints last
season. Ironically, Morris was chosen by Vancouver in the fourth
round of the 2003 NHL Draft.