Ducks Stat-urday: Valuing Bobby Ryan

Bobby and his most comparable contemporary, per Hockey Reference. - Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Bobby Ryan trade market is bound to heat up. Robby takes an objective look (no, really) at his potential value.

There’s been an awful lot of speculation around these parts for some time that Bobby Ryan will not be a Duck long-term. While he’s been subject to trade speculation a few times in his career, the big money deals recently signed by his linemates means that Anaheim will have to get creative if they’re going to keep him long-term.

With this in mind, I thought it might be an interesting exercise to get a more complete picture of Bobby Ryan, the player, by finding other players he’s similar to. The value of this exercise is to try to remove the bias we have about Bobby either way. If we can find a few players that can serve as analogs for Bobby, we might be able to have a more frank discussion about what the Ducks could either expect in a trade, or a future contract.

If you’ve never checked it out before, Hockey Reference has this awesome feature called similarity scores. You can read the background here, but essentially, it’s a tool they created to "find players whose careers were similar in terms of quality and shape." This seems like a good enough starting point for me. Here are the active players that Hockey Reference has calculated to be most similar to Bobby Ryan (ranked in order of similarity). I’ve added in their 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 salaries (and cap hits) for the sake of discussion:

Player (Age)


2012-2013 Salary (Cap Hit)


2013-2014 Salary (Cap Hit)


Loui Eriksson (27)

$4.6 M ($4.25 M)

$4.6 M ($4.25 M)

Jonathan Toews (25)

$6 M ($6.3 M)

$6.5 M ($6.3 M)

Alexandre Burrows (32)

$2 M ($2 M)

$6 M ($4.5 M)

Phil Kessel (25)

$5.1 M ($5.4 M)

$5.4 M ($5.4 M)

David Krejci (27)

$5.25 M ($5.25 M)

$5.25 M ($5.25 M)

Patrick Kane (24)

$6 M ($6.3 M)

$6.5M ($6.3 M)

Nicklas Backstrom (25)

$6 M ($6.7 M)

$6 M ($6.7 M)

Before we dive into those players, a quick reminder about Bobby’s current contract status: He just turned 26 and is currently signed through the 2014-2015 season at a value of $5,562,500 per season and a cap hit of $5,100,000. So if the Ducks do nothing, they owe Bobby $11 M over the next two years for his age 26 and 27 seasons. Anyone trading for Ryan is getting two years of what are likely discounted pricing for a player of his track record.

As for the players, that’s a pretty stout list of talent. The Toews, Krejci, and Backstrom comps aren’t as clean since they’re centers, but you get the point. Bobby’s contemporaries are very good to great players, and I think most people around the league would probably agree that he belongs on a list like this. In terms of salary, Bobby’s pretty much right in the middle of the pack, and his next contract will likely start at no fewer than $6.5M per year.

Let’s take a different tack to generate a list of comparable players. Here’s a list of all wingers that have tallied at least 100 goals and 200 points in the last four years (sorted by GP):

Player (Age)


2012-2013 Salary (Cap Hit)


2013-2014 Salary (Cap Hit)


Matt Moulson (29)

$3 M ($3.133 M)

$3.9 M ($3.133 M)

Jarome Iginla (35)

$7 M ($7 M)

UFA

Martin St. Louis (37)

$5.5 M ($5.625 M)

$6.5 M ($5.625 M)

Corey Perry (28)

$4.875 M ($5.325 M)

$7 M ($8.625 M)

Patrick Kane (24)

$6 M ($6.3 M)

$6.5M ($6.3 M)

Dany Heatley (32)

$6 M ($7.5 M)

$5 M ($7.5 M)

Rick Nash (28)

$7.6 M ($7.8M)

$7.8 M ($7.8M)

James Neal (25)

$5 M ($5 M)

$5 M ($5 M)

Alex Ovechkin (27)

$9 M ($9.538 M)

$9 M ($9.538 M)

Ilya Kovalchuk (30)

$11 M ($6.67 M)

$11.3 M ($6.67 M)

Marian Gaborik (31)

$7.5 M ($7.5 M)

$7.5 M ($7.5 M)

Thomas Vanek (29)

$6.4 M ($7.14 M)

$6.4 M ($7.14 M)

Daniel Sedin (32)

$6.1 M ($6.1 M)

$6.1 M ($6.1 M)

Alexander Semin (29)

$7 M ($7 M)

$7 M ($7 M)

If I’m Bobby’s agent, this is the list I’m taking with me whenever it’s time to talk a new contract. The man is going to get paid with comps like this. What’s interesting is that Bobby is younger than everyone on this list except Kane and Neal.

All of this means that Bobby’s value should be pretty damn high. He’s young, is under contract for two more seasons, and is one of only 15 wingers in the last four years to rack up 100 goals and 200 points. I’ve seen some of the trade proposals that people have started throwing around here, and I think they’re selling way too low on a player in Bobby’s situation.

My personal thinking is that if he’s traded, it’s got to be a 3-to-1 sort of deal plus picks, with at least two of those players being starting caliber players. The Ducks don’t have to trade Bobby right now, and I’d be pretty disappointed in any deal from Murray that sells low on him.

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