The Ottawa Senators are in second place in the Atlantic Division, a position that they have held for the past couple of weeks. When the season started, many experts had predicted the Senators squeaking into the playoff picture by the end of the season. Considering these predictions, an 18-11-3 record is a nice surprise for many fans at the 32-game mark of the 2016-17 season for arguably one of the NHL’s most underrated teams this season.
The Senators hold this record despite one of their most offensive weapons struggling to score. Currently, Bobby Ryan sits has six goals on the season — a far cry from the count he has tallied in past seasons. If the Senators are to maintain their position or excel in the Atlantic Division, they are going to need more in the way of offense from the Cherry Hill, New Jersey native.
Ryan has been battling a finger injury from the beginning of the season. The Senators forward has been dealing with on and off finger injuries since November 2014. These injuries may partially explain why Ryan’s production has dropped, especially during the current campaign when he injured his right hand (his shooting hand).
Since exiting the Sabres game on Nov. 29 he has four points (three goals, one assist) in four games. Ryan has yet to hit the 30-goal mark in one season since being traded to Ottawa from the Anaheim Ducks. If we are to believe that he’s now healthy, this is good news for the Senators as they should see the former 2005 second overall pick put more pucks in the back of the net.
History and Linemates
If history is any indicator, Ryan is a streaky player. Looking at last season’s numbers, Ryan had four separate point streaks with points in at least four consecutive games. His longest streak was nine games, dating from Nov. 5, 2015 to Nov. 24, 2015, where Ryan managed to tally 11 points. With Ryan riding a four-game point streak, including a three-game goal streak, the Senators have reason to believe he is catching his flame.
Ryan’s current success is playing on Ottawa’s top line with Kyle Turris and youngster Ryan Dzingel. Playing with the Senators 2011 seventh round pick is something that many haven’t expected but it seems like Ottawa’s head coach Guy Boucher has found the duo to have chemistry. Many expected that Derick Brassard would be the player helping with Ryan’s offensive production. However, this does not appear to be the case at this point.
Bobby Ryan has two goals in two games. Didn’t take a shot or need his stick for either of them. Paying the price going to the net. #senators
— ((Chris Stevenson)) (@CJ_Stevenson) December 19, 2016
Ryan has always had high expectations to produce offensively in Ottawa, considering his current seven-year, $50.75 million contract and the pieces Ottawa traded to acquire him.
Ryan often had chemistry in Anaheim playing with talented superstars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, where he managed to score 147 goals in five and a half seasons with the Ducks. In three and a half seasons with the Senators, Ryan has managed to score 68 goals.
If the Senators want to be a dominant team in the Eastern Conference, they will need more offensive production from Bobby Ryan — a player well-known for being a dangerous scoring threat in the past.