It has been a tough last 12 months for veteran winger Bobby Ryan. He was bought out of the final two years of his deal with Ottawa, getting paid more than $7MM over the next four seasons not to play for them. He quickly landed with Detroit but didn’t get an opportunity to join a contender at the trade deadline as he needed surgery to repair a torn tendon in his triceps which ended his season prematurely. Despite the disappointing year, the 35-year-old told reporters, including NHL.com’s Jon Lane, that he intends to play again next season and is hoping to re-sign with the Red Wings:
The thing I do know right now is, I want to play hockey next year. That’s been my immediate focus, trying to get ready to do that. You hope it’s Detroit. I haven’t had those conversations yet. I’ll certainly be open to it. If I’m part of the plans, I’d love to be here.
From an offensive standpoint, Ryan had a relatively quiet year with seven goals and seven assists in 33 games while averaging over 15 minutes per game. On the other hand, with a contract of only $1MM, that’s a reasonable return on that price tag from a veteran. However, he was frequently praised by teammates for what he also brought off the ice which has to be taken into consideration as well, especially on a team as young as Detroit is.
It would certainly be understandable if the Red Wings wanted to bring Ryan back although it would probably need to be in more of a limited role. While giving him some minutes in the top six was manageable in a season like this where they weren’t really eyeing a playoff spot, that shouldn’t be the case moving forward as they look to integrate some of their younger players and add to their roster with an eye on getting out of the basement in the standings. If he’s amenable to a reduced role, it certainly seems as if something could be worked out. If not, he’ll hit the open market looking to catch on somewhere else to extend a 14-year career that has placed him seventh in scoring among all players from his 2005 draft class.