Eric Stephens of the OC Register just got a very long and fairly complete interview with Bobby Ryan. The primary topic of conversation was, of course, contract negotiations. Stephens starts off with this beautiful quotation from Bobby when he asked Bobby about what he's heard regarding the contract negotiations.
I haven't heard a single peep
Don't worry, it gets better after the jump
First, for those of you wondering, when I was reading Stephens' interview today I was at the Prospects Camp with Arthur at Anaheim Ice. He opined how eerily similar this situation is to one that happened with another high scoring RFA in Anaheim's past, Paul Kariya. For a more complete history, please read Arthur's post on Paul Kariya.
I don't want to bore you with too many quotations about what Bobby says. I'm sure all of you can read it for yourself. I think what fans need to be wary of is the back and forth that Bobby does in the interview. It's a lot of "I'm not saying...I"m just saying." For example, when asked about his salary demands compared to the amounts being paid out to Getzlaf and Perry, Bobby has this to say:
Not even close. I completely understand that nobody makes more than Getzlaf and Perry.
Sounds sensible, until he says this:
I also feel like in the past couple of years, I played in a position where I can be mentioned among them.
For those of you playing the home game, this means that Bobby is not even close to asking for the same amount of money as Getzlaf and Perry, but feels he should be discussed with them in either value to the team, or monetary value. I'm not really concerned with the contradiction. I think anyone who follows enough sports recognizes this free agent tactic instantly. Bobby needs to make sure fans don't see him as a greedy holdout. You know, like that Kariya guy. Moreover, he also wants to impress upon us his own value. What this means to me though, is that contract negotiations are literally going nowhere. He clearly thinks that Murray is undervaluing him, thus he reminds everyone that he's probably as important to the team as Getzlaf and Perry. If you want arguments as to why he might not be, check out my original post on what the Ducks should offer BRy. I mentioned here, and Arthur told it to me again today, that Ryan's primary concern is making it to UFA. This would increase his bargaining power on the next contract, thereby increasing the money he takes home. If this is the major hold up, chances are it's going to stay that way. Depending on how things go, the restricted status would be Murray's best bargaining chip. Given how poorly he handled Wisniewski last offseason, Bob doesn't strike me as the best contract negotiatior. If that's the case, he'll need all the help he can get with Bobby's next contract. Translation: Bobby gets 4 years over Barstool Bob's cold dead body.
Just to spread the threat, Bobby admits that he might have to look at offer sheets if things don't get going. Not to worry though, that's only IF he can't get a good contract here, which is his priority. He also, confesses he'd be "surprised" to be moved before July 1st. However, says nothing about being moved after July 1st. It's possible that he wasn't asked. But, what else is a player in his situation supposed to say. This is a delicate procedure in Anaheim. If Bobby paid any attention to what happened the first time, he has to know that this town can turn on its stars in these situations. I'm sure he doesn't want to be Kariya 2.0. Still, my impression from this interview is that these sides aren't very close. Anaheim fans might have to start entertaining the idea of life without Bobby Ryan. I've said before, that Ryan is our best chip in a trade. I still think that. I will say this though, Bobby knows this can take a while; HE brought up how long Perry waited to sign his deal. I think Bobby will wait until July 1st before he gives up the negotiation ghost. No matter what, Bobby's fate will be decided the first week of July, whether he signs or gets traded.