After being shuttled around the league the last few years, Ryan Spooner is going to try something different. The 27-year old forward has signed a contract with HC Lugano of the Swiss NLA for the 2019-20 season. Spooner was bought out of the final year of his previous contract last month, meaning he’ll still be paid just over $1MM from the Vancouver Canucks for each of the next two years, and $300K from the New York Rangers who had been retaining salary from a previous trade.
Originally a second round pick of the Boston Bruins, Spooner actually looked like a key part of their offense when he recorded 49 points in the 2015-16 season. Though he would have success again the following year, in 2017 Spooner was sent to the Rangers as part of the package for Rick Nash and things would quickly go downhill. Though he was successful down the stretch, Spooner would only play 36 games with New York before being flipped to Edmonton the following year. Things didn’t work out with the Oilers, and he was sent to Vancouver after just 25 games.
In all, Spooner recorded just nine points in 52 games last season and was a healthy scratch on a consistent basis. The playmaking forward was moved away from center and left in the bottom-six without the same type of offensive linemates he had in Boston. His career was completely off the rails, and a buyout only cemented that.
Now, in Switzerland he’ll get a chance to rebuild some of his value. At just 27 he should still be able to return to North America if he decides to pursue another chance at the NHL, though it’ll take some hard work to prove he’s willing to commit himself to the details at both ends of the rink. Spooner has a ton of offensive talent, but it just hasn’t seemed to click over the last few years. Perhaps a trip overseas will fix that problem.