With the Anaheim Ducks struggling to a 6-13-4 record and currently sitting 14th in the Western Conference, there has been plenty of talk regarding the team and its future. Head Coach Randy Carlyle, who signed a contract extension through the 2013-14 season in August, could be held the scapegoat for the team’s underachieving ways. There is also the possibility that the team could be undergoing player personnel changes. According to Daren Millard of Rogers Sportsnet, an NHL Executive told the network’s Nick Kypreos (a former NHL player) that winger Bobby Ryan was being shopped. It’s still unclear whether Ducks GM Bob Murray will blow up his roster and enter a full rebuild or whether he will rebuild on the fly, trading one of his assets to strenghen his farm system and seriously contend for the Stanley Cup within a season or two.
The team has several promising players within their system, including Emerson Etem, Devante Smith-Pelley, Justin Schultz and Kyle Palmieri. Etem and Palmieri project as offensive forwards, with Smith-Pelley seen as an energy player with a scoring ability. Schultz, considered one of the best defencemen in the NCAA, is viewed as a top-4 player. At the 2011 NHL Entry Draft the Ducks had 7 picks, which they used on one goalie, two defencemen and four forwards.
Who is Bobby Ryan as a Player?
Bobby Ryan is 24 years old, and currently playing in his fourth full NHL season. At 6’2, 209 lbs, his size is a big asset. He has scored 30 goals in each of his first 3 seasons, including a career year last year where he finished with 71 points. He is given significant powerplay time, and does not get used on the penalty kill very often. Last season he played over 20 mins/night. His current contract carries a $5.1 million cap hit through the 2014-15 season, with his salary being $5 562 500 per year.
What Could Bobby Ryan Command on the Trade Market?
Bobby Ryan is a goal scorer, plain and simple. And goal scorers are available on the trade market more than people think. Phil Kessel, James Neal, Joffrey Lupul, Kris Versteeg and Jeff Carter are all prominent snipers who have been dealt in the recent past. The two most comparable to Ryan are Phil Kessel and Jeff Carter.
In Phil Kessel’s case, he commanded two 1st round draft picks and a 2nd round draft pick when Boston traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs. This came as a 21 year old coming off a 36 goal season in 2008-09. Bobby Ryan is older and has a larger body of work than Kessel did at the time, so theoretically he should command more in a trade.
Jeff Carter was dealt this past summer, coming off 4 seasons of atleast 29 goals including a 46 goal campaign in 2008-09. Carter has averaged 30 goals/season, Ryan has averaged 33. Carter is two years older than Ryan. Carter was worth a top-10 pick, a promising young player (Jakub Voracek) and a 3rd round draft pick when the Columbus Blue Jackets traded for him prior to the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. It is very possible, and even likely, that Ryan will score 40 goals/season and be a point per game player in his prime. The fact that Ryan is not playing out a “lifetime” contract, unlike Carter, plays heavily into the equation as well, with those contracts being widely viewed as detriments to NHL franchises.
Looking at both the Carter and Kessel trades, Ryan’s value would be higher than Jeff Carter’s, and on paper higher than Phil Kessel’s as well. He has a more significant NHL resume than Kessel did, and is younger and has a more manageable contract than Carter. Kessel, having only played two full years and producing significantly in one, was an overpayment on the part of the Toronto Maple Leafs. A package consisting of a promising young player and two first round picks would likely be what lands him. Teams needing to make the playoffs could drive the price up.
Which Teams Would Show Interest?
Whenever a player of Bobby Ryan’s size and scoring ability becomes available there is bound to be league-wide interest. The Calgary Flames, desperate to make the playoffs and once again underperforming, would certainly make an offer. The Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche are all teams whose objective this season is to make the playoffs and have a lengthy run, and teams that have had their issues scoring goals this season. And if the New Jersey Devils feel that their prized winger Zach Parise will test the market in July they could very well attempt to pry Ryan out of Anaheim as his replacement.
Will Bobby Ryan get Traded?
If there is a GM that is willing to offer a young forward and two 1st round draft picks, Ducks GM Bob Murray will have to seriously consider it. Ryan has the potential to be an 80 point player and is still very young at 24 years old. The late Sam Pollock’s belief was that the team that got the best player won the trade, no matter what they gave up. If Murray decides to rebuild on the fly he’ll ask for young players that can contribute immediately; if he decides to enter a prolonged rebuild and completely change the course of the franchise, he’ll demand prospects and draft picks. Either way this season has not gone according to plan for the Anaheim Ducks.
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