The Chase For Bobby Ryan

I try to go to every Canucks vs Ducks game I can.  It’s an incredible rivalry that has produced some of the most entertaining regular season games I’ve ever seen.  The Perry, Getzlaf, and Ryan line is down right abusive in not only their skill but their size and speed too.  They are amazing talents combined into the perfect hockey trio. 

If there was a super hero hockey line, it would be either this Ducks trio or the Canucks’ Sedin twins along with Burrows.  But where the Sedins use telepathic grace to confuse and outwit their opponent, the Ducks trio use pure talent and domination.  They are fun to watch, unless they are spanking your team into submission, then they’re a bunch of jerks. 

But they haven’t been as dominant this year.  In fact they’ve struggled mightily, and Bobby Ryan has struggled the most of the three.  When I first saw him play in person I was amazed at how big he was.  I thought he was the smaller of the three forwards.  I was wrong.  He was huge.  And when I saw him skate into the slot, toe-drag the puck back and away from the defender, and wire it top shelf at top speed, I was in awe.  I’ve been to many games in my life and it was probably one of the most impressive displays of skill from a hockey player I’ve ever seen. 

So why does Anaheim want to trade him?  Good question, but the thing is, they don’t actually want to trade him but rather they feel that they have to trade him because of a lack of depth.  Go to www.nhlnumbers.com and look at the paid Anaheim roster and you’ll see what I mean.  Just look at that second line.  Temu Selanne (41), Saku Koivu(36), and Jason Blake(37).  Those guys are old for the old NHL.  The Ducks have some good young kids in the system, Etem,  Holland, Palmeri, Smith-Pelly, but they are a few years away from being real impact players.  So in the mean time, the Ducks have three all-star forwards for their first line, three approaching 40 year olds on their second line, and not much beyond that. 

Is it the right decision to move a talent of Bobby Ryan’s caliber?   I don’t think so, not unless they are getting a deal that they can’t refuse.  It also depends on management’s direction.  If they want to compete this year, they need to find a way to tread water.  Build some marginal depth without giving up a franchise cornerstone.  Picking up Nick Hagman on re-entry waivers was a good start.  They should also see if Burke will trade Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner back for Francios Beauchemin.  I hear he’s good friends with Bob Murray.  They should also look at teams that are struggling and want to shake things up (Calgary) and at teams that are near the salary cap and want to dump salary (Philadelphia).  They also might want to look at teams that made free agent signings that haven’t worked out (Ville Leino).  Maybe they can manuver a different trade without giving up Ryan. 

I have no problem with a team going out to find a player’s worth in the open market, but doing so as publicly as the Ducks have here can cause great harm if you don’t find the return you think you deserve.  So I think they should be patient, get creative in exploring other options to adjust.  Reassess at the end of the year.  Look at their prospects and then see where they are in development.  The Ducks have had slow starts for the past few years now.  They always pick it up in the new year and I’m sure they will again this year too.  Their top line is too talented to continue to not produce.  They need to be patient as there are many options, but trading a guy as good as Bobby Ryan wouldn’t be one of mine.

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