A while back I looked at cities that might be good or bad destinations for Rick Nash. Since it appears Bobby Ryan is also on the trading block, a similar look is in order, along with some of the factors that may (should) lead to his trade.
The Anaheim Ducks as a team don’t lack talent. They have guys who have scored 30 and 50 goals recently, and a goalie capable of leaving opponents frustrated night after night. What they lack is anything like commitment in the first half of the season. They have played at best mediocre hockey until the football season winds down, and then between Christmas and New Years they are suddenly nearly unbeatable. It happens like clockwork.
Bobby Ryan has turned in four straight 30+ goal seasons and played about an average number of minutes a game to do it. In the last two seasons he’s added penalty killing to his pedigree. He was part of the American Olympic team that won silver just a couple seasons ago picking up a goal and assist along the way. While he played for the Ducks in the season after they won the Cup, none of his other stops have been the top tier hockey spots. Owen Sound of the OHL is not exactly the NHL player factory that that teams like the London Knights, Kitchner Rangers or some others.
The New Jersey Devils
This team leaps to the top of the list for several reasons. You can start with their having just lost a high profile left wing. Or you can go with Bobby Ryan being a Cherry Hill, New Jersey native. Either works. They need to replace the scoring they lost, and Ryan is probably the closest points per game producer they can get at .780 ppg to Parise’s .817, an argument can even be made for Ryan being as good or better given the slight playing time advantage to Parise, and more first line minutes.
The New York Rangers
One than that is unlikely to be an issue here is ego. Ryan is well liked, well respected and about third or arguably fourth in prestige on the Ducks, on the Rangers there’s at least as many players ahead of him who would be in line for media blitz and blame after the shiny wore off. The top two goal scorers on the left side last season were Hagelin at 38 points in his rookie season, and Fedetenko (now elsewhere) with 20 points.
Sure they just landed Parise and Suter, but they just means they have less expensive prospects and probably several of them to move. Yes the Miami Heat jokes would get old even before the season started, but Parise, Ryan, Heatley between them aught to be able to fix the offense. A return almost has to include at least one of Granland or Phillips and Coyle. With a smaller contract than some of the other names team moving contracts out for space only leaves the danger of a thin bottom six.
With the near certain departure of Alex Semin, another left wing will be needed, why not Ryan? The media will even have to find a real reason to dump on him since he’s not Russian. Hell, the raw physicality on wing with him and Ovechkin on the ice together probably makes them favorites to for deep runs on more than just paper. Skill isn’t really lost either.
Strong goaltending, got that. Tough defense, got that too. Go too scorer? Bueller? Or maybe Bobby? With the departure of Suter, getting Ryan might make it easier to nail Weber to the floor. At only 1.6m more than Suter’s last Predators contract, he’s more than affordable and fills a need. The rabid fans in Nashville could push him to even higher performances.
They said they were looking for a scoring winger to play with Eric Staal. Bobby Ryan meets both of those qualifications. Adding Ryan without losing someone off the roster (unlikely) would only put the Canes about half a million over the cap floor with 21 players on the NHL roster. If your top six includes Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Bobby Ryan, and Jeff Skinner you have as good an offense as 80% of the NHL.
With an expected revamping in the offing, Ryan in and nearly anyone not Leino going back probably does good things for both lineups. With Roy gone, and Hodgson and Luke Adam both pretty young, who the center the Ducks would want in return might be is a bit murky, but playing in Buffalo would only be a let down in climate.
Not only do they need to start accumulating talent under 35, any draft picks they could send back would be at a twenty year high in value. With the loss of Lidstrom, and the aging of the rest of their roster,
If they decide to tweak their roster Tomas Plekanec almost certainly goes back as part of the exchange. This would leave the Habs spending only slightly more, and open up more ice time at center for the recently extended Lars Eller and local boy Louis Leblanc. With Cole and Pacioretty at left wing, it might mean some other moves in were needed, but as well mean one of the three plays out of position.
Toronto Maple Leafs
They can send back anything but a center unless they cough up Grabovski and he’s willing to be traded their. Brian Burke is the general manager who drafted him and adding him to the mix in Toronto could deflect attention from Phil Kessel and who ever is unfortunate enough to be playing goal for a while.