Fan reaction to trade rumors can range widely, but there always seems to be one constant. The minute someone mentions the name Bobby Ryan the conversation turns sour.
Do you really want Bobby Ryan’s contract. It is a big number for 4 more years and he is not a big producer anymore
— ian norwood (@23norwood39) February 26, 2018
Hell no bobby Ryan contract is up 2022 and we will be paying him 7.5 mil every year. If taking him has to be part of the deal you are screwing the team hard not even talking about the prospects and picks Ottawa wants.
— Vegas Golden Knights Coverage (@VGKcoverage) February 26, 2018
Let’s go back in time. The New Jersey native was drafted #2nd overall in the 2005 NHL Draft. Also known as, the Sidney Crosby draft. Ryan lived up to his potential right away. In his rookie season, the right-handed forward scored 31 goals and was a Calder Trophy finalist. By the time his entry-level contract ran out, Ryan had 131 career points (71 goals, 60 Assists) and 26 Power-Play goals. Altogether, in five full seasons with Anaheim, Ryan scored 30 or more goals four times. The Ducks liked Ryan enough after his third season in the NHL to sign him to a five year, $25.5 million contract, his first massive deal.
After the shortened 2012-13 season, Anaheim moved the then 25-year-old forward to Ottawa for Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen and a 2014 1st Round pick. At the time, it looked like Ottawa pulled off one heck of a trade. One they liked so much that they offered Ryan $50.75 million over the next seven years.
Fast forward five years later, the once four-time 30 goal-scorer is no longer the hot commodity he was in his first nine seasons in the league. The past two seasons he’s missed 20 games each year, scored just 13 and 11 goals, saw his ice time dip about two minutes per game and didn’t reach 35 points in either year, something he had done in each of the previous eight seasons. Quite simply, the production Ryan has offered has not been worth anything near $7.25 million per year.
So what went wrong?
Since 2014, Ryan has missed time on 16 different occasions. Early on it was a sports hernia problem, but since it’s been mostly reoccurring finger and hand injuries. Another factor for his massive drop off could be an effect of the All-Star linemates he played with in Anaheim. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry amassed major numbers with Ryan on the wing. Perry even nabbed the Hart Trophy in 2011, and Getzlaf had 253 assists from 2008-2013. Points came easy for Ryan playing with those two Ducks.
Since his decline, Ryan has amusingly been open about his albatross contract. In June of 2017, when asked about being left unprotected, Ryan was asked if he was worried about being selected by Vegas in the expansion draft.
“No. Are they going to take $7 million? No. No, I’m good…Not even a little bit (worried).”-Bobby Ryan, 5/29/17
Ryan’s loose attitude came through once again after this season’s trade deadline. After Ottawa beat the Golden Knights in early March, I asked about the rumored deadline trade.
I got some friends over there and Luca Sbisa is one of my closest. So we kinda talked about it. It would be nice to get back together in that regard. -Bobby Ryan, OTT Forward 3/3/18
After speaking to Ryan and Karlsson in March, I got the feeling they were hoping they got dealt. Now that we know about the Mike Hoffman situation, maybe both were just looking to escape a toxic locker room. Which brings me to my next point; the possibility of career resurrection wherever Ryan ends up.
The chances that Ryan becomes a 30+ goal-scorer again are fairly slim, but reaching 20-25 isn’t out of the question, especially if he’s a Golden Knight. Like many Vegas players, they had career highs playing for Jack Adams winner Gerard Gallant. Ryan is the former 2nd overall pick behind Crosby, he’s scored 30+ goals four times in his career, and the situation he’s coming from literally could not have been worse. The term “misfit” was thrown around the Golden Knights locker room as a joke, but every good joke has a bit of truth to it. Ryan is the literal definition of a “Golden Misfit,” a player given away to Vegas.
Lastly, if absorbing Ryan’s contract guarantees Vegas Erik Karlsson, it’s clearly worth it, even if Ryan continues to be a marginal player. It’s like almost every other Golden Knights trade during the Expansion Draft. The Golden Knights get an asset and take on something another team wanted to give away. Sometimes they turned out to be Columbus, Florida, or Minnesota netting William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, Erik Haula, and Alex Tuch. Others turned out to be Tampa where the only usable piece is still stuck in the KHL and may never come over. But this is the Vegas Golden Knights, the expansion team that just won the Western Conference, the Golden Misfits, and they would be getting Erik Karlsson. It’s a risk of course, but what better team to take that risk than this one?
I’ll end with some Erik Karlsson quotes from early March. He was very open with SinBin.vegas in the Senators locker room.
(The Golden Knights) were obviously one of the teams that was thrown out there a lot. They’re a good team and they were pushing for it, so nothing unexpected. -Erik Karlsson on 3/3/18
It’s a great city and they have a great team. Their general manager, McPhee, is a really good general manager and he’s been around for a long time. I think he’s going to build a good team, not only for now but the future as well. It’s definitely an attractive city. -Karlsson on 3/3/18
Keep your eyes open. Something could go down soon, like maybe even as soon as tonight.