Ryan, 34, is just taking a quick trip up Highway 2, leaving one side of the Battle of Alberta for the other. He spent the last three seasons with the Calgary Flames, providing strong defensive play from the bottom-six and even chipping in some offense now and again. In 43 games this season he scored just two goals and 13 points, but is still a valuable enough player because of the position he fills.
For Edmonton, he’ll essentially be replacing Jujhar Khaira, who signed a similar two-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks today. The team has some elite center options at the top of the lineup, but has struggled to find consistent play out of the bottom two spots. Leon Draisaitl was also the only strong player in the faceoff circle for the Oilers, something Ryan has excelled at his entire career. He has won 55.4% of his ~3,500 NHL draws, with a huge chunk of them coming in the defensive zone or on the penalty kill.
GM Ken Holland has always targeted role players like that to fill the bottom-six, and Ryan fits right into that mold as someone who might not play a ton but can do specific things well. The fact that he also had a career-high 38 points in 2018-19 doesn’t hurt.