The Ottawa Senators have forward Bobby Ryan locked up for 1 more year, and they can, if they choose, begin negotiations on a new deal this summer that would kick in for the 2015-16 season.
The Senators gave up quite a lot for Ryan, perhaps more than they bargained for. The two live pieces were Jakob Silfverberg, a former 2nd round pick who had just completed his first NHL season and Stefan Noesen, who was a first round pick three summers ago. The third piece, and perhaps the kicker now that we have come to the realization that the Senators will be a lottery team with a possible top 10 pick, was the Senators’ first round pick in 2014.
So having given up so much for a supposed all-star forward, can they afford to let him walk if they can’t reach a new deal? Not really. But, Ryan hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since the turn of the calendar to 2014. He has just 4 goals (and 7 assists) in 2014, after having notched 18 goals (and 18 assists) in his first 42 games as a Senator. While 40 was within sight at Christmas, he likely won’t even get to 30 this season.
Ryan is going to be looking to cash in with a long-term contract on his next deal, and he could be worth it. But he hasn’t shown it over the last 3 months to the point where the Senators can commit that kind of money to a player as inconsistent as he has been. The Senators expected 35-40 or more goals from the sniper who had been a second option in Anaheim but still managed four 30 goal seasons.
Not that it is all his fault, because there have been times where Ryan has been mis-used, like many players on the club this season, by the coaching staff. Ryan isn’t a guy who is going to create offense for himself, but he will be a finisher. He became a third wheel on a line with Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur because that duo’s chemistry was so strong.
The Senators could look to trade the winger, but they wouldn’t be able to get back what they paid to get him. Allowing him to walk as a UFA isn’t an option, and throwing buckets of cash at players tends to usually be a mistake, one that the Senators cannot afford of that magnitude.
It will be very interesting to see what takes place over the next year or so, until either a contract is signed or a trade happens.