The Detroit Red Wings released veteran forward and Cherry Hill, New Jersey native Bobby Ryan from his Professional Tryout Contract (PTO) prior to rosters being announced Monday evening. Ryan spent last season with the Red Wings after signing a one-year, $1 million contract. He would go on to post 14 points (seven goals and seven assists) in 33 games played, including four goals in the first three games of the season.
“We just made that decision that that is the best thing for us, ” Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill said after Monday’s practice. “I wish Bobby a ton of luck going forward. I think he’s a great, great person, a real good player, but that’s (the decision) we made.” (from ‘Detroit Red Wings release Bobby Ryan from tryout. Here’s why,’ Detroit Free Press 10/11/2021)
While this decision comes as a disappointment for the 34-year-old veteran, could there be an opportunity a little bit closer to home? The Philadelphia Flyers would be the perfect landing spot for the former second overall pick during the 2005 NHL Draft.
Coming Home to Philadelphia
The future of Ryan in the NHL is still up in the air at the moment, but there is nothing more Flyers fans would want to see than him in orange and black. After years and years of pushing for him during the offseason, could this dream finally become a reality? Not only has Ryan previously stated that Philadelphia was somewhere he has always wanted to play, but it would be on the top of his list.
“I think any kid that has a hometown team grows up thinking they would play there some time,” Ryan said during an interview. “For a long time and so many years it felt like it might come to fruition.”
For the Flyers, this move makes sense logistically since they would be able to sign him to a two-way deal and send him to Lehigh Valley if necessary. While I am sure Ryan would prefer to play with an NHL team, the Phantoms are loaded with young talent in need of veteran leadership. He started his career off in the American Hockey League with the Portland Pirates during the end of the 2006-07 season, so he is no stranger to the minor league systems.
With the season-opening Friday night versus the Vancouver Canucks, it is not likely that Ryan would be signed right away, but he could be an option down the line if injuries occur. With Kevin Hayes already out for the first few weeks of the season, he could fill a huge spot in the lineup pending Nate Thompson not working out on the fourth line.
The Perfect Fit
The former second-overall pick is no stranger to scoring goals and putting up points on the board. To this point in his career, he has played 866 games and recorded 569 points (261 goals and 308 assists) with the Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, and Red Wings. Included in those 866 games are four 30 goal seasons at the beginning of his career. He has been one of the most consistent players on the ice despite bouncing around to a handful of teams.
The Flyers are badly in need of a natural goal scorer that can consistently put the puck in the back of the net game after game. While it would be tough to say he would have another 30 goal season, he would be good for 25 goals playing with the right guys. Being paired with veteran leader James van Riemsdyk and young gun Joel Farabee could prove to boost his play if something like this were to happen.
While nothing has been said by either side, this is definitely something to keep an eye on as the season progresses. He could fill a major spot down the line, or even provide support to a young Phantoms team. Regardless of what happens, it is always nice to continue thinking about the possibility of Ryan being a Flyer.
Bobby Bader Jr. is a freelance journalist born and raised in Philadelphia, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers since the start of the 2020-21 National Hockey League Season. He currently works with the Hershey Cubs Hockey Club (USPHL Premier) as the team’s media coordinator and serves as the Assistant Sports Information Director at Penn State Harrisburg. For interview requests or to provide content info, follow Bobby on Twitter or his social media accounts. They appear under his photo in articles like this one.