Bobby Ryan: Trade Target

The big name is off the table in the NHL’s trade market as of yesterday with the Columbus Blue Jackets trading Rick Nash to the New York Rangers for three players and a first round pick.

The inevitable speculation will now shift to who the next big name to go will be. It’s what happens when a star gets traded in the offseason. While many will be quick to point to Roberto Luongo — who could very well be traded any minute because he needs to be — I would argue that the man more likely to hire a real estate agent is Bobby Ryan, currently of the Anaheim Ducks.

Many will recall that Ryan was an apparent lock to be traded from Anaheim around the draft when his discontent became public knowledge. Presumably, during an offseason in which the Ducks have done nothing beyond acquiring Daniel Winnik, Ryan’s opinion has not been swayed back towards the Ducks despite the sunshine and minimal roster turnover.

It was apparent at the time that the Philadelphia Flyers would be the front-runner to acquire the services of Ryan, and why not? They have plenty of young talent to shop and that is certainly what Anaheim is searching for. The Flyers need additional talent to compete with the Penguins, despite beating them in the playoffs, because players like Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell, while still very productive, are not getting any younger. Performance declines as you head into your 30s, assuming you’re not Ray Whitney, but lighter minutes can ease that decline. A 25 year old top six winger helps ease those minutes.

He also allegedly told people that Philly was where he wanted to be, which certainly didn’t quell that speculation.

As we know now though, the trade to the Flyers never happened. The main piece which was supposed to be heading back to Anaheim, James van Riemsdyk, went to Toronto instead and the Flyers continue to address the blueline first with the Shea Weber offer sheet. All told, the Ryan trade talk went quiet and quick, which leads me to think… it’s quiet… too quiet.

With Nash off the table and a bevvy of suitors left with offers on it, attention will likely turn to California and the Ducks. Plenty of teams will no doubt be looking to plug that hole with an equally productive player. Ryan, to his credit, actually has scored more goals than Nash over the past three seasons by a margin of 100 to 95, though, to be fair to Nash he hasn’t had the likes of Corey Perry or Ryan Getzlaf to play with. Nash was it in Columbus.

From a salary perspective, Ryan’s contract is much more favorable at a $5.1 million cap hit to Nash’s $7.8 million. Nash is only under team control for an additional two six years despite the disparity in salary. Bobby Ryan is relatively inexpensive thereby making him a much more friendly option for the majority of teams in the NHL — particularly those flirting with the cap — and everyone could use someone who produces at his clip.

With all of this information out there, the issue is simply a matter of which team wants to pony up.

The Flyers are obviously still in the mix for Ryan. They were looking at Nash and he was ultimately acquired by a division rival. The Atlantic Division will be tough sledding for a long time. The Detroit Red Wings have come out and said that they made an offer for Nash and after falling short on both Ryan Suter and Rick Nash, they clearly feel the need to make an impact.

There are also the inevitable ties to teams like Toronto (who are tied to everyone, are run by the man who drafted Ryan and boast a pronounced trade history with Anaheim), Boston, while Pittsburgh and even the Rangers are believed to be interested.

The price point for Ryan is also drastically altered because of Nash. A bigger name and the face of a franchise went for three players of mixed review and a first round pick. Bobby Ryan could very well be in the bargain bin, despite no reason for him to be there. Could a roster player, prospect and pick get a team Bobby Ryan? It’s certainly possible at this point given that he is believed to have hamstrung the Ducks with a trade request in a similar way to Nash’s situation in Columbus.

The Rick Nash sweepstakes have been decided, but the deal may very well be the tipping point for Bobby Ryan’s move. If Bobby Ryan lands somewhere out of Anaheim, he has the potential to make just as much of a splash as Nash, if not a greater one in the right situation.

Who wouldn’t want the guy who can pull this move off?