Bobby Ryan Doesn’t Fit with the Ottawa Senators

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OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 24: Ottawa Senators Right Wing Bobby Ryan (9) waits for a faceoff during first period National Hockey League action between the Washington Capitals and Ottawa Senators on January 24, 2017, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Bobby Ryan Doesn’t Fit with the¬†Ottawa Senators

Bobby Ryan came to the Ottawa Senators at a strange time. In the 2013 off-season, long-time captain Daniel Alfredsson had decided to go to Detroit. The team’s dynamic was changing. The addition of Ryan was supposed to bring back a pure goal scorer, something Sens fans hadn’t seen since Dany Heatley left.

Ryan had four consecutive seasons of 30 or more goals with the Anaheim Ducks. He has a lethal shot and can make defences look silly if he is given open ice. A talent like that doesn’t come cheap. So Ottawa put their money where their mouth was and paid the price. They traded a promising top six forward in Jakob Silfverberg, a former first round pick, Stefan Noesen, and a first round pick in the 2014 draft which would become Nick Ritchie.

Now in his fourth season with the Ottawa Senators, Ryan is no longer the player the Sens hoped he could be. He is now their top paid player at $7.25 million a year, all the way through the 2021-2022 season. By that time he will be 35 years old. The Ottawa Senators are a budget team, and to have their top paid player produce the way Ryan has been, is a major problem. In his time with the Sens he has played 273 games, and tallied 74 goals, 105 assists and 179 points. Whereas with the Anaheim Ducks he played 378 games with 147 goals, 142 assists and 289 points.

Why Bobby Ryan Doesn’t Fit

The glaring stat category for why Ryan isn’t working out in Ottawa is his shots. Bobby Ryan’s best attribute is his shot. When he gets open ice he can release a shot quickly and effectively. He even has a deadly backhand. The problem is he isn’t getting the same shot totals he used to. In 2010-2011 with the Ducks, he had the best year of his career. 34 goals and 71 points. He was 16th in the league with 270 shots. The closest he has came to that with Ottawa was in 2014-2015 season when he had 221 shots. That’s a pretty decent shot total. The problem though, is that year he only scored 18 goals. That converts to an ugly 8.1% shooting percentage.

His decline in shots goes hand in hand with his time on ice. From 2009 to 2012 he was averaging over 18 minutes a game with Anaheim. In his time in Ottawa he has never averaged over 18 minutes a game throughout an entire season. This season he is averaging just over 15 minutes a game. Tom Pyatt averages more minutes per game. Let that sink in.

Ryan accounts for over ten percent of the teams budget, and that’s money that will need to be spread around in the future. Mark Stone and Kyle Turris both make $3.5 million annually, next year being their last year. Those two are due for handsome raises. Especially Turris who has been Ottawa’s number one centre since Jason Spezza left. Both players had higher point totals than Ryan every season since 2014.

What to do with Bobby Ryan?

This team has excelled in developing their players. Trades and free agent signings have typically not worked out in Ottawa’s favour. Bobby Ryan is a perfect example of that. Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson and Zack Smith are all homegrown talent. They are the future of this team. Ottawa’s strength is in their depth. There are some exciting prospects to look forward to as well. Colin White and Logan Brown are very talented forwards with great potential. As a budget squad, they need to focus on developing these players, among others.

Ryan may not be a great trade candidate, but there is still hope that with the right line mates he could post solid offensive numbers. The Ottawa Senators have decisions to make. Suck it up and take the big cap hit, or try to trade a player whose value is at an all time low.¬†With Ryan’s numbers and big cap hit, trade packages may not seem worth it, considering what the Sens gave up to sign him.

The final option is more of a last resort, but he could be exposed to the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft. His no move clause only restricts him from being sent to the minors and a select few teams he can not be traded to. This would simply be a way to dump his cap hit. The Golden Knights may target him as a veteran guy that they can immediately slot into their top six. Whatever happens between the Ottawa Senators and Ryan, it’s clear that things are not working as planned for either party.

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