The Question: HEY – what you think of Bobby Ryan’s first season as an Ottawa Senator? Is he worth the dubloons?
I think it’s tempting to look at Bobby Ryan as a small disappointment, but probably only in the somewhat arbitrary terms we’ve put forward all season: he’s supposed to be a 30 goal scorer, and he’s probably not going to score 30 goals this year. Since he’s been described that way over and over, to score 30 goals is, at this point, a huge part of his identity. This is of course totally ridiculous.
He’s third on the team in points, with a +10 rating as of this writing, behind only Karlsson and Spezza. He has a positive Corsi For, and hasn’t been too sheltered, starting about the same percentage of his zone starts in the defensive and neutral zones as he does in the offensive zone. He doesn’t face the easiest competition either; MacLean seems to be a fan of rolling his lines.
All of this makes him an effective top six forward, and a very good one in the context of this (not very good) team. So, yeah: he’s been fine. Whether or not he was worth giving up two potential regular NHLers and what’s looking more and more like a lottery pick is another thing entirely, but I think, based on Ottawa’s season last year, and the weak draft, you have to think it was a risk worth taking.
Of course, it’s all completely relative to his salary, which, at a $5.1MM cap hit, makes him a deal. You could argue that he’s not providing as much value for his cap hit as his comparables. There are some pretty amazing players in that bracket – Phil Kessel, Patrice Bergeron, Jamie Benn, Evander Kane, Jeff Carter – but also some stinkers – Martin Havlat, Stephen Weiss, and David Clarkson. Also, the only way those other players have cap hits so manageable is that many of them are signed to gigantic, era-spanning deals.
The point being that if Ottawa can convince a still-young Bobby Ryan to stay in town for at or around his current cap hit, and knowing that his ceiling is probably higher than it was this season, he’ll be well worth the dough. But if he’s looking to make north of, I don’t know…$7MM on a long term deal? Then it may not be wise to commit so much to him.
Yeah, I for one have been quite pleased with Bobby Ryan. It would be a stretch, in my opinion, to say that he came here and didn’t do what he was supposed to. Any disappointment in him is merely attached to the disappointment surrounding the entire team this year. They’re better than they played and we all know it and that’s why we’re all so depressed about it.
Ryan may fall a bit short of the 30 goal standard that was placed on him the second he was traded here (albeit it’s a pretty fair standard considering he’s still in his prime and given the number of times he’s reached 30) but I don’t see that sub-30 goal total as his “new normal.” It’s just like how I don’t think that because Ottawa wont make the playoffs this year that they’re going to miss the post-season routinely now. Weird year, weird year.
Side note: Funny how some things can change in a heartbeat in the NHL. Seems totally normal that the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche sit comfortably high up in their respective conferences despite the Bolts finishing 3rd last and the Avs 2nd last in the entire league less than a calendar year ago. Short season? Nah, chalk it up to the Avs rebuild model of getting a number 1 pick, adding him to the team right away and putting a successful minor league coach at the helm (WORKED FOR EDMONTON EVERY YEAR!!!) or the Tampa model of trading a standout rookie forward for what was essentially a 3rd string goalie at the time, losing Stamkos to injury most of the year and trading away their captain Marty St. Louis. You know, “hockey moves” (See also: Varada’s Be a GM Mode: Tipz n’ Trixx article).
What was I talking about again? Right, your recent divorce…I mean Bobby Ryan’s recent engagement, I mean just Bobby Ryan sports stuff. Did he surpass expectations? No, but on the up side he’s more or less met them in my eyes. I would say Clarke MacArthur would get my surpassed expectations award and Cody Ceci a very unexpected surprise for the year. Bobby? Well, he was what I hoped he would be: A smart top line winger with a dangerous shot. Was he incredibly consistent? No, but again, I don’t think many players on the team can say that. Here’s an example of why I find it a bit hard to have a go at Ryan’s goal today: A couple of months ago he was on pace to score a career high in goals. Also of note, Craig Anderson was the best goalie in the league last year and this year has had trouble not letting in TWO fucking goals on the first ten shots.
Can you get to the goddamn point, please?
I think Bryan Murray traded a ton for a top line player and got one. His first year here was a really messy one for the team, unfortunately. The Senators, as a whole, blew a ton of opportunities to advance in the standings. Individually it’s fair to say he went for quite a cold stretch, he was also, in my view, misused by the coach at times. I think that has a lot to do with trying to ignite a losing team but I’m a bit concerned that there’s something about Ryan’s game that drives coaches bananas. In added twist, it’s also being hinted at that he’s been playing hurt. I think that taking off two weeks for the Olympics and still having to miss out on practice after speaks for itself.
I am very much looking forward to seeing how next year goes (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADOI). I don’t think we really saw the Ottawa Senators this year and I don’t think we fully saw Bobby Ryan this year either. A little winning really makes a lot of shortcomings disappear. I don’t remember anyone complaining about how Dany Heatley was the slowest skater on the team when he was rolling or how Chris Neil takes a lot of bad penalties back when the team was winning a lot of games (though social media was not as much of a thing way back in the 1700’s). Tough season to out and out judge but if I had to, I’d say he was fine. Scored a lot of goals, found a line he gelled with, seems like a great teammate.
Would I re-sign him? In a heartbeat. We should let a 30 goal man walk after giving up so much for him? Not usually a benchmark for good contracts but look at Toronto: gave up just an absolute ton for Phil Kessel, it didn’t work out right away. Was I the only one wringing my hands thinking, “Thanks for giving powerful division rival Boston 2nd overall there, Burkie” but to their credit they saw what they had in Kessel and locked him up – for a lot of money. As a Sens fan I really wish they didn’t. Similarly, I hope Ottawa sees what they have in Ryan.
As for how much he wants, well that’s always tough. I’m just a fan *audible gasp* and as a fan I’m thinking, we’re basically a cap floor team; pay the good players. Stop giving the fucking Colin Greenings and Chris Neils multi-year, multi-million dollar deals to be 4th liners. [Editor’s note: at this point Varada stood up and started banging on the table.] I love a good Turris dream contract and all but I appreciate that they are rare. I’m not concerned about Bobby Ryan becoming a Stephen Weiss or David Clarkson so I say pay him like Jamie Benn or Jeff Carter. If he wants to stay pay him what he should get within the reason you’d expect from a good general manager. If he can’t wait to jump ship after one down year (downISH too, its not like they’re in last place! The team was seriously like two small winning streaks away from being totally in the mix) then I don’t know: two trade demands in a few years? Guy’s kind of a talented wuss then. I would personally really love to see a fresh start with a top six of:
MacArthur – Turris – Ryan
<exciting new toy or Hoffman> – Spezza – Hemsky