Earlier today Andy Strickland tweeted out that the Oilers have signed UFA Nick Ellis to a 2 year entry-level contract.
Prior to this season Ellis had only appeared in 12 regular season games with Providence, and posted a less than stellar 0.906 SV% in those games. After backing up Jon Gillies for the previous two seasons, Ellis took the reigns this season in Providence and posted a very good 0.936 SV% in 36GP.
At SB Nation College Hockey, they identified Ellis as the 62nd best NHL prospect in the NCAA, and the fifth best free agent. This is their assessment of his play this season:
Ellis spent the past two seasons waiting in the wings behind superstar goalie Jon Gillies at Providence. But this year, as the team's top goalie, he's been able to shine. Ellis brings a good mix of size and athleticism and has been very effective in net all season.
The most important thing to remember about this acquisition is that Ellis isn’t likely to make the NHL next season, where he lands on the Oilers depth chart next season is unclear though. Is he fifth and playing in the ECHL, or fourth and playing in the AHL? If he's fourth that would mean that he's the number two guy in Bakersfield behind Eetu Laurikainen, which would also mean that the Oilers have decided that Laurent Brossoit is ready to be full time backup in the NHL. This would not be the best idea, so hopefully this isn't the plan.
At the end of the day signing Ellis is pretty low risk and comes with a decent enough upside. And if it doesn't work out the cost on an entry-level contract is quite low.