The Ottawa Senators have stated that they are rebuilding many times this year. Rebuilding can be a long and tiring process. However, the rewards can be amazing. Look at the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, and Los Angeles Kings. All teams that went through rebuilds and came out with multiple top picks that led them to a Stanley Cup.
However, rebuilding is more than just being bad. You need to hit on said draft picks, as well, you need to have players through the rebuild. Guys to help lead and guide the team even when the results are not there. This is where a player like Bobby Ryan will come in.
Bobby Ryan To Help in More Ways Than One
Let’s get maybe the most obvious one out of the way. The Sens need to hit the cap floor. Bobby Ryan and his contract will help them do that. Currently, the NHL Cap Floor is set at $58.8 million. The Senators current cap hit currently sits at $59.4 million according to Cap Friendly.
As well, the salary cap is expected to rise this coming year. Meaning, the floor will also rise with it. Ottawa may give Cody Ceci a new deal, whether that is more or less will yet to be seen. However, if they wish to bring up players like Logan Brown, Filip Chlapik, Drake Batherson, and company to the main club, they will need to add money elsewhere. All of the said players will be making less than a million dollars due to entry-level deals.
So, keeping Bobby Ryan will allow them to hit the floor while icing a relatively young and also cheap team for a few seasons. Ryan carries a $7.25 million cap hit for three more seasons after this. While this is a steep number, people probably overvalue how much it matters to a floor team. Wasting an asset to move his money to another team is pointless as Ottawa does not need the space anyway.
Part of a rebuild with a young team is having some veterans to lead the way. Now, this shouldn’t be an excuse to run out players who can’t play anymore as “leadership” personalities. But, if a player can play in some capacity and also help the younger players that has value.
I personally will not pretend to know who Bobby Ryan is. I have never met him and know nothing of his personality. However, he is a veteran of this league. He has played almost 800 NHL games and another 50 in the postseason. He has seen some big ups as well as some big downs. Having a guy who has been there and can help the younger guys adjust is a valuable asset to have.
If we want to ask ourselves what his actual personality is like, we don’t have to look further then when he scored a family a puppy and brought them in to meet him. He always seems to make some time for the fans, whether that is his team or another. Having this type of player to set an example on a young team is a very good thing.
Now, to the biggest part. Bobby Ryan can indeed still play. People love to judge players on how much they are paid, somewhat fairly so. However, this means people like Ryan who haven’t been able to live up to his massive contract are viewed as complete failures or non-NHL players. This is not at all true.
Unfortunately for Ottawa, part of the reason Ryan’s contract has been so bad was because of his injuries. When you bring in a 4-time 30-goal scorer, you expect him to score goals. But, that is very difficult when you can’t keep healthy. Ryan has suffered multiple hand issues over the years that have kept him out of plenty of games. As well as likely bugged him for many more.
Despite these injuries, Ryan has still put up 48, 54, and 56 points in a Sens’ uniform. His past two years haven’t been as strong, putting up just 25 and 33 points in 62 games each. This season, he has 37 points in 66 games played. Ryan has scored 100 goals over parts of six years with the Senators and while this doesn’t live up to his contract, it isn’t horrible either.
For a team that is looking to be bad for a year or two as they rebuild, they still want to ice some players who can play. Bobby Ryan can be just that. Ryan can be an option on PP1 or PP2 as a passer or a shot if needed. He has 46 assists over the past two seasons and as shown even if he can’t shoot like he used to, passing is an option.
Here is why the Sens should want to keep Ryan. When we look at “advanced stats” I think of two things. Controlling play and points relative to ice time. While the second may not be very advanced it never seems to get looked at.
Since 2016, Ryan has a 5v5 P/60 of 1.67. This ranks 8th among Sens wingers, as well, it ranks 165th in the league since that time. While these numbers certainly don’t blow anyone away, being ranked 165th means he would be a slightly below the average 2nd-liner. His scoring pace is still fine.
Over the past three seasons, Bobby Ryan ranks 6th out of 21 Sens’ forwards in Corsi. His CF% over that time is 47.7%. This isn’t a very flattering number, however, you need to remember that CF% is highly influenced by teammates. Due to some poor linemates at times this will be brought down. Relative to his team, however, he looks better. Ryan has a RelCF% of 0.75. This means he is above average in controlling play for Sens’ forwards.
Overall, there is no reason for Ottawa to move on from Ryan just yet. He has shown he can be somewhat of a contributor. At very least, a warm body on a rebuilding team. Having a guy who has seen it all as he has can help a young team moving forward. As well, this team will need to hit the cap floor for a few years yet.
At the very least, there is no point in moving Bobby Ryan just to get out from under his cap hit. As a rebuilding team, Ottawa can stomach it and shouldn’t be giving up assets. It makes lots of sense for Ryan to stay in the Capital for at least three more years.