Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported today that the Ottawa Senators recently offered winger Bobby Ryan a seven-year contract extension to remain with the club through the 2021/22 season. The winger is on the final year of a five-year contract that carries a $5,100,000 cap hit. Garrioch hasn’t mentioned specific dollar amounts, but rumors are floating out there that a seven-year, $49 million was offered.
If true I can sum up my reaction with one simple word: wow. As in “wow, how did Bobby Ryan not jump through the phone and try to sign the deal when the team first offered it.”
I’m not insinuating that Bobby Ryan is a bad forward at all. In fact, I actually think he’s pretty good. Anytime you have four-30 goal seasons under your belt before your 26th birthday, you’re doing something right. But those seasons all came with the Anaheim Ducks, playing a good amount of time on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. While not trying to disrespect Bobby Ryan’s abilities, but out of that trio, who do you think opposing teams would focus less as to concentrate efforts on the other two?
Ryan got his first opportunity away from the two in Ottawa last season. The season started out well when he notched 36 points in his team’s first 42 games. Things took a considerable turn for the worse after the new year when he picked up only 12 points in 28 games before being shut down for the season with an injury (it’s also worth noting that this slide coincided with his omission from Team USA’s Olympic roster). He finished with 48 points in 70 games in his first season with Ottawa.
Things are much more dicey for the Senators this season now with the reports of these rumors. They paid a big price to acquire him from the Ducks last summer (Ottawa sent Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen, and a first round pick to Anaheim) in the hopes he could be the piece that helped spark the team on a big playoff run. Instead Ottawa missed the playoffs and sent long-time center Jason Spezza to Dallas earlier this summer. It’s a crucial time for Ottawa who can’t afford to have Bobby Ryan walk away from them for nothing if the team isn’t going anywhere, and by all accounts, most experts don’t believe Ottawa will be playoff-bound this season either.
Ryan is actually betting on himself having a bounce-back season this year. Even if he is healthy to start the season, Ottawa’s top center is projected to be Kyle Turris, while a nice player, is a stretch to be considered a true number one pivot. So if Bobby Ryan is counting on himself to score another 30+ goals this season, he may need to create more individually for himself. If he struggles through another season, I have a hard time believing he’ll sign a contract anywhere near numbers that have been thrown around.
There is still time to negotiate, and if there is genuine interest on Bobby Ryan’s part to stay with the organization, I’m confident both sides can work out an agreement that makes everyone happy. But the longer this situation goes, the more likely that Bobby Ryan will be playing elsewhere next season.