Predators' Ryan Ellis to miss at least four months with lower-body injury

The Nashville Predators are stocked with defensive talent but will be without at least one of their blue-line standouts for at least four months to open the 2017-18 season.

Predators general manager David Poile announced Thursday that Ryan Ellis, a 16-goal scorer for Nashville during the team's run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2016-17, will be sidelined indefinitely after undergoing surgery for an undisclosed lower-body injury. Poile said the veteran D-man "may be able to return around Jan. 1," according to NHL.com.

The news puts an abrupt black mark on an otherwise loaded Predators lineup, but this isn't the first time the team has had to trudge on without prominent players. Nashville made its run through the postseason in the spring despite losing both Kevin Fiala and top-line center Ryan Johansen to injuries.

Ellis appeared in 71 games in 2016-17, finishing with 38 points, an improvement in that category for the second straight season.

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