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Armchair GM: Signing Bobby Ryan


Disclaimer: I cannot think of a real reason to fire Carlyle, nor do I think that Carlyle will be fired by Bob Murray.  Now that I've said that, it will probably happen.  Still, until it does, I have no interest in firing Carlyle, so any analysis about signings, trades, or any other GM moves will be made in terms of Carlyle's system. 


Well, the off-season has officially started for the Ducks.  Playoffs are going well, and every team has a former Duck, encouraging.  Still, Bob Murray has a big task ahead of him.  If he doesn't want to be run out of town with pitchforks and torches, he needs to sign Bobby Ryan immediately.  The OC Register's Ducks Blog reveals that the impending CBA negotiations at the end of the 2010-11 season may be a a key factor affecting contract negotiations.  Before we get into how much I will be paying Bobby Ryan in my new role of Armchair GM, let's take a look at what Bobby has accomplished this year and over his career.

I like reading, so no fancy graphs.  In 168 games, Bobby has 71 + 60 =131, is +21, and has 26 PP goals, meaning 37% of his goals come on the PP. That's pretty baller.  It's no secret that Bobby was a key contributor of the RPG line that dominated in the playoffs a year ago.  He was a stronger hitter then. It seemed more and more that Bobby wanted to rely on that wrist shot from between the circles and was less willing to go into the corners and make power moves to the net.  The man can clearly find the back of the net. His numbers are better than Perry's were when he was gifted with that 5-year contract.  Still, Bobby isn't as crazy as Perry. I can count on Perry to stand in front of the net, and more importantly, be an agitator.  Bobby needs to play to his size and improve on some of those character demonstrations.  He was wonderful on that line with Koivu and Sexton, but down the stretch, he seemed to be waiting for chances to come to him instead of creating his own.  That shouldn't warrant top line money.

More importantly, if Bobby is going to continue to shoot from between the circles, he needs to do a better job of getting shots through and on net.  Bobby had the most missed shots, 80, and blocked shots, 76, of any Anaheim forward.  Those are only the even strength numbers.  Granted each of those only puts him in about the top 25 in the league, but in a system that is all about puck control and stopping the rush the other way, missed and blocked shots can be a serious problem for the Ducks.  It leads to the puck going the other way.  It can also thoroughly undermine the sustained pressure that Carlyle likes.

Let's be real for a second.  Bobby is more than capable of dominating a game, but I don't think he can take over a series like Getzlaf.  He's not as disinterested in defense as Teemu Selanne, but he's not as active in his own zone as a Chipchura or a Marchant.  Bobby is a very quiet goal scorer to me.  You know he's going to score through the course of the season and a good amount of them will come in important situations. Alexandre Burrows, Mikael Samuelsson, Patrick Hornqvist, Jussi Jokinen, and Dustin Penner, are all guys I would put in the same category as Bobby Ryan.  They are all 30-goal scorers that teams don't really gameplan to stop.  Bobby could potentially be good anywhere.  Placing him on multiple lines this year proved that.  But I think it is also that dynamic ability that has allowed him to transform into a chameleon of sorts. He'll score, but that's it.  It's difficult to gauge how impactful he really is.  As I've said, the dominance shows up, but disappears as well.  It could be youthful inconsistency, but I expect more from a guy drafted after Sidney Crosby if he expects to be paid as one of our top scorers. 

Despite all of this, I recognize Bobby's potential.  He keeps scoring, and with Selanne still considering retirement, we'll need PP production from somewhere.  Signing Bobby Ryan is the same as making a key free agent acquisition. Especially since there aren't a lot of realistic options out there that will upgrade our scoring.  I'm not going to offer Kovalchuk 10 million when I still need to sign a second line center, a Top 4 D-man, and a depth defenseman. 

So here's my proposal.  Bobby Ryan gets a 2 year $9 million deal that will pay him 4 million next year and 5 million in the second year.  I know Bobby wants to be UFA next contract, but that's four years away and there's no telling what the CBA will bring.  If there's a major change to cap rules, or anything else, we still have Getzlaf, Perry, Sexton, Beleskey and other options, that will make trading Bobby a little easier to take.  He'll get the extra money to make him feel better about being moved and then another shot at an RFA offer sheet.  The 4.5 cap hit is very manageable, and it's not like he's being insulted.  He'll be the third highest paid forward on the team, which is appropriate because he's the third most valuable forward to us.  Ok, fourth, but Koivu isn't getting this kind of money.  His contract is next. 

Bobby is going to get a raise.  My other option in this is to go for the 4 year deal he wants and bring down the cap hit, but until this rotation of veterans finally settles into some retirements, we need to keep a little bit of flexibility.  Bobby will take this money and play for more.  He still needs to prove he's a franchise player who will do everything, not one of those invisible 30 goal scorers who is only about his production, and not about the intangibles that bring victory. If he does, he'll get a much longer and more expensive contract. If he isn't interested in the two year, I'll start trade discussions.  Then I'll call Alexander Frolov's agent.