Guess who just rolled up to the spot? Oh, it’s us. We return with our LEGENDARY 30 Thoughts™ on Bobby Ryan’s contract extension. Forgive Varada for his brevity he is currently on vacation in beautiful Portland, Oregon and did his share on his phone like damn champion. I am my regular insufferable self so apologies in advance.
1) They get him for less than $8MM
The way the market is headed, is anyone else surprised they could sign a 27 year old elite scorer headed to UFA status in a smallish town for less than what is considered elite money? Carolina has to give a guy like Eric Staal more than $8MM, and they drafted the guy. Truly elite guys like Toews and Kane are getting more than $10MM. Ottawa just signed a core player for what top six forwards are going to cost in a few years. In years 5-7 of this deal, Ryan will be an absolute steal.
Oh, HELL YEAH, I brought up on our podcast
that no one listens to that as a fan, I’d be okay with Ryan getting a straight up bad contract to keep him here. Anything to prevent another quality player for bolting. Aside from drafting them, elite players in their prime have to be traded heavily for or overpaid. Seeing as Murray did the former I figured might as well do the latter to make it worthwhile long term. And, hey sometimes a team needs to give their best player(s) a bad contract. Is PK Subban’s contract a good one? Nah, not really but it’s a pretty smart one considering the Habs rocky relationship with him up to there. To lose him over the price that he drove up his value to and some bad decisions (bridge contract) would be inexcusable for the Habs management. They ponied up and kept him the fold. Ditto Nashvillie matching the Philly offer sheet and paying Shea Weber an international airport per year. He’s their best player. Keep that guy.
Being cap smart in today’s leagues is essential but hey sometimes you just gotta be all:
Funny you mention how good this contract will look in 5 years but if he keeps producing like we know he can I think it could be a lot sooner than that. How about how good Karlsson’s deal looks just 2 seasons in. Great to see a team with limited money like Sens being bullish with contract negotiations and getting in there quick before the price gets past the point they can afford. Sure that strategy didn’t work out with Greening. It sucks, but it’s worked well with Turris, Karlsson, hell, even Zack Smith. Smith’s deal is not as sexy but less than 2 million for a guy who can kill penalties, take faceoffs and put up nearly 15 goals in a year? Take a look at Benioit Pouliot’s deal to show it’s not just the Kane and Toews guys whose salaries are skyrocketing. What I’m getting at here is that with the chemistry he’s shown with Turris and MacArthur and the ice time he’s likely going to get, I could see a 40 goal season as not out of the question. If they were to negotiate through the season and he were to put up a career high in goals, hey awesome short term for the Sens but I doubt we can afford him at that point and we lose him to the market.
2) They actually managed a limited NTC
It’s hard for me to imagine the negotiations between Ryan and Ottawa being anything other than “we’ll give you everything to stay,” so it’s surprising to see Ryan conceding both money and total trade protection. We don’t know the details yet, but it’s probably something along the lines of “pick some teams we can’t trade you to.” Ottawa retains some leverage. Huge kudos to the negotiating team on that one.
This one I’m slightly ambivalent on…I mean…OH HELL YEAH! I’m not too concerned here. *puts on “I survived the Jason Spezza trade” shirt over “I survived the Danny Heatley drama” shirt which is over two “I survived all kinds of Alexei Yashin bologna” shirts* It’s, of course, ideal to have options but I think with a player of this caliber you can always get something nice back. It’s the Colin Greenings and Chris Neils of the world having NTCs that scares the shit out of me.
3) All of the negative shit from last week was way off
I read my fair share of reputable hockey people saying all of the messages coming out of Ryan’s camp were bad signs for Ottawa and there was no way he was going to re-sign. You’ve got to love a deal then coming pretty much out of left field and proving everyone wrong. It turns out that when you ask random hockey executives about their competition they may have skewed perceptions and an interest in sewing discontent ;)
OH HELL YEAH. Any kind of contract situation…or frankly any sports situation is talked about to an insane degree. Worst of all in the off-season when there’s no actual hockey being played to break things up. Gone are the days of just opening the Sports section and seeing “Player signs new contract” or “Player made team captain.” Say there’s a 2 sentence sound bite about contract negotiations from a player or team management, then 8 days of silence passes before the next. For those next 8 fucking days there is an endless diarrhea stream of hottakes to fill the space between. It’s hard to know what’s credible and what’s a hottake after a while. Seeing as there’s been some ugly recent history, it’s easier to assume the worst. If I was a professional hockey pundit or whatever, I’d probably err on the side that might make me look the least dumb in the end too. I mean, Karlsson’s a garbage pick right? For the record, Dreger did indicate that he thought Ryan would re-sign.
Personally, I never really found Bobby’s remarks too troubling. When he said something along the lines of, “A long term deal is a big commitment and it might not happen overnight” I had to agree. It was just realistic. The guy was potentially signing into his mid-30s. The thing that gave me a bit of a scare was the part about “Waiting and seeing what his role on the team will be.” I am not one of those who are ready to throw in the towel on Paul MacLean buuuuuuuuuuuuuut he kiiiiiiind of had a tendency to give 0.00 fux about giving his most skilled players the important ice time ice time last season. So that was scary but I more worried about MacLean’s actions ruining it than Ryan’s. If we went into the season with Ryan unsigned and I saw Chris Neil get just just one shift on one power play (Ed Note: THING THAT FUCKING HAPPENED MORE THAN ONCE LAST SEASON!!!) over Bobby I would have thrown up my hands like, “Welp, that’s the end of that chapter.” I thought the lead up to the signing was being a bit overdone but all’s well that … I forget how the rest of that goes.
4) It’s an endorsement of Ottawa
Narrative is a powerful thing, and people were starting to write their own stories about Ottawa. Alfredsson and Spezza leave and there’s almost nothing you can do to dissuade assumptions of a franchise in decline. Ryan could have gone anywhere and he chose Ottawa. He wants to raise a family here. Makes perfect sense to those of us who live here. Maybe it will send a similar message to the rest of the league.
Heyyyyyyyyyyy, you don’t cheer for a team in a city divided in three with fans of your two biggest rivals who could not hate the Sens more without feeling kind of constantly uneasy about pretty much anything that happens. Some fanbases have a self depreciating culture and others have a prideful one. I think it’s clear what side of the coin we’re on by and large.
We talk about this all the time, in the NHL narrative is all relative. Marty St. Louis leaves the team he’s been with his entire career and one that’s considered a contender mid-season, not a big deal. Ownership changes hands in Nashville, they have owners? Good for them! We’re a sketchy franchise these days for sure but the team fails to re-sign the most beloved player in franchise history and some fans stay home out of protest and boom we’re going bankrupt. K. I remember the first Sens-Wings game in Detroit last season and the building looked three quarters full. But hey, HOCKEYTOWN right you’z guys. Have you ever heard anything about attendance issues in Detroit? I haven’t. Considering we’re in a city where a bunch of the people actually out and out HATE the team, it’s a pretty stable franchise as far as the every day business goes. Season ticket sales are up, we have one of the world’s best players, Ryan’s staying, Clarke MacArthur is a perfect hockey player, Lehner’s going to start more, Turris is going to wear a turtleneck with his chain this year (I can feel it!), and I will continue to drink tall cans on the long ass bus ride to the stadium. October 2nd 2014 was an awesome day to be a Sens fan. Here’s to hoping for more ahead and not freaking out too much on the bad days.
Thoughts 5 through 30 coming soon*!
P.S. Karlsson is captain