Dan Ellis was born June 19, 1980 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The second round, 60th overall selection of the Dallas Stars in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Ellis honed his skills in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers before enrolling at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the fall of 2000.
In his three seasons at Nebraska-Omaha, Ellis compiled a 52-50-12 record before making his professional debut in 2003-04. The Saskatoon native spent the majority of his rookie campaign with the ECHL Idaho Steelheads, leading them to the ECHL Championship and subsequently being named playoff MVP. Although he spent the majority of the year in the ECHL, Ellis would also see action with the AHL's Utah Grizzlies while making his NHL debut with Dallas later that same year.
After appearing in 55 games with the Dallas Stars AHL affiliate in Iowa, Ellis was signed as a free agent by the Nashville Predators.
After three years in "Music City" Ellis was traded by the Predators to the Montreal Canadiens along with Dustin Boyd in exchange for Sergei Kostitsyn on June 29, 2010. Just days later, on July 1, Ellis would sign a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Things did not work out quite as expected for Ellis in Tampa and just 31 games into his Lightning career he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Curtis McElhinney.
In the summer of 2012, Ellis was on the move again. This time he inked a deal with the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. He would ultimately split time between the Checkers and their parent club, the Carolina Hurricanes, during the lockout shortened 2012-13 season.
On July 5, 2013, as an unrestricted free agent, Ellis re-joined the Dallas Stars, the team who originally drafted him, signing a two-year deal.