Boom or Bust: The Bobby Ryan Story

ROBBY:
When writers struggle to come up with content, they tend to go back to their comfort zones and topics. With that in mind, I've decided to write again about my beloved Bobby Ryan.

When Bobby signed his 5 year, $25.5 million deal this offseason, there was a ton of debate about what Bobby would need to do to justify his contract. Some felt that his role as a finisher was enough to snag that salary, while others wanted to see more consistency from the winger-turned-center-turned-winger-turned-center-turned-winger. Thus far this season, those looking for more consistency, and those looking for him to finish, have been under-whelmed.

The consistency issues that seem to have plagued Bobby throughout his first years in Anaheim have been particularly poignant this year. In an effort to see whether he's trending in the right or wrong direction, I've decided to take a closer look at his production throughout his pro career.

First, let's look at the big picture. Here's a break-down of Bobby's yearly production over his first four years. I've also added columns for his best point streak throughout each campaign, the number of multi-point games, and the number of zero point games.

Points

Points/Game

Point Streak

Multipoint G

Zero Point G

2007-2008

5-5=10

0.435

3 pts in 2 gms

1

16

2008-2009

31-26=57

0.891

8 pts in 7 gms

14

32

2009-2010

35-29=64

0.79

9 pts in 7 gms

17

34

2010-2011

22-17=39

0.75

6 pts in 4 gms

10

29

The thing that immediately jumps out at me is how many games Bobby has already gone this year without a point. In 30 fewer games than 2009-2010, Bobby has gone pointless in just five fewer games this season. And that's not it. Everything is down this year. His points per game are lower, and he hasn't had a lengthy point streak this year like he's had in years past. If we were to extrapolate his production thus far, here's what we'd be looking at for 2010-2011:

Points

Points/Game

Multipoint G

Zero Point G

2010-2011*

35-27=62

0.75

16

46

*Projected

So while his overall points and goals aren't terrible, they're certainly not what we all expected to see from Bobby after the big payday. In an effort to better understand how this year's effort tracks compared to previous years, I looked at Bobby's production per month over his career. The table below shows points and points per game over each month.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

Jan.

Feb.

Mar.

Apr.

May

2007-2008

1-0=1, 0.25

--

2-2=4, 0.571

0-0=0, 0.00

--

1-1=2, 0.25

1-2=3, 0.75

--

2008-2009

--

2-4=6, 0.857

4-8=12, 0.923

11-5=16, 1.143

4-3=7, 0.583

5-4=9, 0.692

9-1=10, 0.909

1-2=3, 0.429

2009-2010

4-3=7, 0.583

6-4=10, 0.769

8-8=16, 1.067

5-4=9, 0.6

4-3=7, 1.0

3-4=7, 0.538

4-4=8, 1.333

--

2010-2011

4-5=9, 0.75

8-5=13, 0.929

3-3=6, 0.4

7-4=11, 1.0

--

--

--

--

Career

9-8=17, 0.607

16-13=29, 0.853

17-21=38, 0.76

23-13=36, 0.857

8-6=14, 0.737

9-9=18, 0.529

14-7=21, 1.0

1-2=3, 0.429

There are a lot of numbers to digest here, but these are the key takeaways as I see them:

  • Bobby's December was the worst month he's ever had as a pro, outside of a few months his rookie season where he only played a few games a month.
  • Historically, he's a slow starter. October is his second worst month, but he does seem to turn it on once the calendar flips to November.
  • Bobby is a procrastinator when it comes to the playoff push. He's not much of an asset in March, but he turns it on in April (some of these numbers do include playoff games as well).
  • There is hope. Bobby's January was the best month he's had this season and it's up to you to speculate why he's played so well in Getzlaf's absence.

Ultimately, there's no debating that Bobby has had a disappointing year to-date. While he's certainly turned it on lately, the number of games where he's gone without a point at all is certainly a concern. Part of this could be attributed to his ever-changing role this season, but Bobby has been shuffled throughout the lines before without having it affect his performance this much. Granted, he's being asked to learn different abilities and assume different roles on the fly, so maybe we can give him something of a pass for that.

Overall, I think it's interesting to see how his production plays out by month. While his numbers are roughly even over both halves of the season, it is notable how much his production fluctuates month to month. Which brings us back to the key point: consistency.

What can Bobby do to deliver a more consistent effort? With Getzlaf out, he seems to be finding a way to contribute on a nightly basis. In 13 games without Getzlaf, Bobby has gone without a point in only four games, which is definitely better than his career rate. Add to that the fact that he has a game-winner in one of those games (and two key shoot-out scores in Ottawa and Montreal), and it certainly seems like Bobby is finding his stride.

I've already speculated about why the team is succeeding without Getzlaf, but Bobby in particular is thriving. Why do you think that is? What's changed? And, most importantly, will this newfound consistency last once the captain returns?

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