Ottawa Senators Need Bobby Ryan To Be A Difference Maker vs Montreal


An 18 goal, 36 assists season. 3 goals, 8 assists and -1 over his last 25 games. Not the greatest numbers for a guy about to make $7.25 Million next season and not the greatest numbers for a guy expected to be a big part of the Ottawa Senators offence as they get set for their first round series against the Montreal Canadiens. Of course that guy is Bobby Ryan.

Those numbers certainly do not lie when it comes to Ryan’s struggles this year but the most telling sign for Senators fans when it comes to his production has to be the visual test.  Ryan has had trouble in various areas of his game this year; from his hands to his feet.

Recently its been evident that something must be hampering Ryan as Senators fans have noticed him falling and tripping more often. There’s also the inability to take a pass or keep the puck on his stick, perhaps underlining a hand injury? Back in December it was reported that Bobby had a fractured finger in his right hand and it is easy to think that perhaps his difficulties with the puck may be due to not having the finger fixed back then.

Regardless of injuries as most guys are playing through bumps and bruises at this time of year, Bobby Ryan will need to elevate his game and become a difference maker if the Ottawa Senators want to continue this miraculous run deep into the playoffs.

Let’s take a look at Ryan’s playoff performances and see what the Senators should expect from him.


Ryan was called up on March 7th, 2008 after Corey Perry sustained a leg injury. Ryan would make his Stanley Cup Playoff debut against the Dallas Stars that year in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, but would go pointless in the two games he played in. The Stars would go on to beat the Ducks 4-2 in the series.


In a season that saw him become the first Ducks rookie to score a hat-trick and be named a finalist for the Calder Trophy, Ryan was again called upon when it was playoff time. He would register 7 points (5G,2A)  in 13 playoff games that year as the Ducks would go on to lose to the Detroit Red Wings in the Conference Semifinals.


Although the Ducks would bow out in six games to the Nashville Predators in the Conference Quarterfinals,  Ryan would register 4 points (3G,1A) in 4 games including one of the prettiest goals he has scored to date.


This would be Ryan’s final season with the Anaheim Ducks as he would be traded to the Ottawa Senators during the off season. Bobby would go on to register 4 points (2G,2A) in 7 games during the playoffs, but again the Ducks would fall in the Western Conference Quarterfinals to the Red Wings.


Plain and simple, Ryan has not had a playoff series that should make Senators fans feel as though he will be a difference maker going into the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but that shouldn’t stop him from trying to raise his level of play come Wednesday in Montreal.

With the return of Milan Michalek to the line up for game one against the Canadiens, Bobby should find himself with more opportunities in the offensive zone. Before Michalek was sidelined with an apparent concussion, he was playing some great hockey. He had finally found his legs and speed, and was one of the better Senators on the forecheck. One of the biggest problems that was evident when it came to Ryan’s low production numbers recently was Mike Hoffman‘s inability to forecheck and retrieve pucks from the corners.

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Because of Hoffman’s desire to gain the offensive zone and look for trailers instead of dumping it in and forechecking, Ryan was forced to retrieve the puck alongside Mika Zibanejad.  He was rarely in shooting positions and was forced to play from below the goal line for the majority of his shifts in the offensive zone.  I look at Dave Cameron‘s choice to move Hoffman down to the 4th line and wonder if this had anything to do with his decision.

It is no secret that Ryan is aware of his struggles of late as Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported back on  April 4th, Ryan stated “I’m fine. I just suck right now. If that answers your question. The puck’s not going in the net”. As Senators fans its nice to see Ryan acknowledge that he has to be better, but for the sake of their playoff chances it would be better if he actually WAS better.

I expect Ryan to come out hard on Wednesday night in Montreal. This team has excelled heavily on the shoulders of Kyle Turris, Mark Stone and Erik Karlsson; I’m sure Ryan wants nothing more than to have his name added to the list of guys who steps up and provides the offensive production this team needs to make a long playoff run.

Next: Trevor's 2015 NHL Playoff Predictions

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