It isn’t a secret that the Edmonton Oilers could use a good,
right-shooting forward. It’s also common knowledge that general manager Peter
Chiarelli highly values size and strength in his players.
In that vein, in this week’s edition of What Would You Do
Wednesday we consider a hypothetical trade target for the Oilers, one who hasn’t
come up a lot in the rumour mill: Bobby Ryan.
Age-wise, Ryan is an imperfect but not implausible fit for
the Connor McDavid Oilers.
The second overall pick in Sidney Crosby’s draft year, he’s
basically a peer of Milan Lucic, who was Edmonton’s big summer free agent
acquisition. He’s old enough that the five remaining seasons on his contract
are a bit of a concern, but he’s also young enough that he should have several productive
campaigns left and could plausibly sign another contract once his current deal
Ryan is also a right shot who can play ably on either wing.
He used to be a pretty reliable 30-goal scorer back when he was a fixture on
Anaheim’s power play, but even in Ottawa he’s been a productive skater. At 6’2”
and 204 pounds he has good size for a scoring line forward and while he isn’t a
pure crash-and-bang winger he’s very capable in traffic and a physical presence.
This is also a moment where the idea of the Senators trading
him is plausible.
To some extent, that’s a function of Ryan’s contract.
The Sens have a well-deserved reputation for nickel-and-diming, and can’t
afford to be stuck with a $7.25 million cap hit if Ryan’s production declines.
It’s also probably worth noting that the deal is backloaded. Ryan’s salary
doesn’t match his cap hit until next year, and he’ll collect a total $1.0
million above that cap hit over the final four seasons of his contract.
He’s also battled a hand injury this season, and (likely as
a result) is having a below average year for Ottawa. He’s clearly not a
favourite of new head coach Guy Boucher, who has slashed his average ice-time
by two full minutes from where it was last season.
All of this makes him interesting fodder for a hypothetical
exercise like What Would You Do Wednesday. Size-wise and even age-wise he’s a
fit for what Chiarelli has done for the Oilers, and his contract represents
both risk (if his performance plummets) and opportunity (since he might not
otherwise be available).
In Chiarelli’s position, would you be interested in bringing
Ryan in, and if so what would you see as a reasonable trade offer?