By Jon Maxfield aka DnJCards
(Above) Bobby Ryan shaking hands with then GM Brian Burke
“With the second overall pick in the 2005-2006 NHL Entry draft, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks are proud to select…. From the Owen Sound Attack, Bobby Ryan!” With those words spoken a feeling of sheer excitement arose and the image of Bobby Ryan being the face of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for years to come, gave me a bad case of goosebumps. Unfortunately, following a storm of media fire, those days may be numbered. The once decided “future” of the Anaheim organization may be on his way out sooner than later.
(Above)Bobby Ryan in a Portland Pirates jersey
Bobby Ryan’s NHL career started at the very end of the 2006-2007 campaign as upon elimination from the OHL playoffs, Ryan was assigned by Anaheim management to the Ducks’ farm team at the time, the Portland Pirates of the AHL. Bobby played a mere 8 games with the club, but his presence was huge. Putting up a staggering 9 points in those 8 games including 3 goals, Bobby Ryan looked to be as promising as the critics had claimed. (After all being selected after Sidney Crosby is quite a bit of weight on your shoulders in itself!) The 2007 season ended and Bobby Ryan seemed poised to take a spot on the Ducks roster the following year, hot off of a Stanley Cup championship, and the exit of Dustin Penner, the spot seemed to be there for the taking.
Following training camp Ducks coach Randy Carlyle had the same thought process as he praised Bobby’s play and thought he was ready. Bobby opened the season with the Ducks, making quite the splash scoring a goal in his NHL debut against the Los Angeles Kings. However not much else amounted for the young star, after 4 games Brian Burke felt as though Bobby Ryan would benefit more from another season in the minors and sent him back to the Pirates to develop some more. On a gut wrenching moment for the Ducks in late March, Bobby Ryan saw a beam of light, an opportunity yet again to fulfill his NHL dreams as Ducks star winger Corey Perry suffered a season ending leg injury. Bobby Ryan made the most out of his remaining 19 games with the Ducks, finishing the season with 10 points in 23 games for the Ducks, and an amazing 49 points in 48 games for the Pirates.
Bobby flourished in the Pirates deep playoff run, putting up 20 points in 16 games before the Pirates saw their season end. At this point Ducks Management felt very good about Bobby’s progress and development. His skating had improved to the point where his big bodied stature, skated smoother than most others, his soft hands led to several assists but his deadly accuracy and staggering power made a shot to the back of the net occur quite often. Bobby was shaping up to be the star he was projected to be.
(Above) Bobby Ryan scoring on Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets
The 2008-2009 season once again started with Bobby Ryan cracking the Ducks roster. Bobby started off the season strong, he had his feet under him and his skating was strong. Management was faced with a hard dilemma as their cap issues reared its ugly head. Bobby Ryan was once again assigned to the Ducks AHL Team (Now the Iowa Chops). It wasn’t long before he was called back up to the big leagues (Only 14 games in fact). Bobby came back to the NHL with a chip on his shoulder. Poised to make those prior 14 games, his last in an AHL uniform. He didn’t disappoint, one of the highlights being scoring the Ducks first ever hat trick by a rookie in early January, not to mention being the fastest to do so in a Ducks uniform. Bobby shattered the rookie record for an Anaheim Duck for points in a rookie season, (Previously set by Dustin Penner with 45) tallying 57 points in his rookie campaign despite only playing 64 games. Following the season (And a second round playoff exit) Bobby Ryan was announced as one of the finalists for the coveted Calder trophy, alongside goaltender Steve Mason and forward Kris Versteeg of the Chicago Blackhawks. Steve Mason’s stellar season despite being on an underperforming team earned him the trophy with Bobby Ryan being the runner up.
The 2009-2010 season was about to start and Bobby Ryan was finally set to spend a full season with the Ducks. Lined up with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, a line was destined for greatness, being hailed as one of the best lines in the entire NHL. Bobby Ryan picked up right where he left off, proving why he was taken 2nd overall. Putting up point after point on route to a 64 point campaign is 81 games, with 35 goals, 29 assists and 81 penalty minutes. The Ducks missed the playoffs ending Bobby’s season prematurely.
The missing of the playoffs began talks that the Ducks needed to shake up their roster, it seemed as though nobody was safe (Aside from Teemu Selanne). Bobby Ryan’s name was somehow brought into discussion and was the center of trade talks (reportedly) despite Ducks GM, Murray denying all allegations. This was the start of Bobby Ryan’s reported unhappiness.
The Ducks started the 10-11 season slow yet again, looking destined to repeat their missing of the playoffs. Despite the slow start by the team as a whole, Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry were the two bright spots on the team. Bobby Ryan putting up 34 goals and 37 assists, improving upon his point totals for a 3rd straight season. The Ducks seemed all but eliminated in late February. Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan would not let this happen however as they pushed and played their hearts out. Leading to the Ducks clinching a playoff spot in the waning days of the season. The Ducks playoff run was short lived as they were eliminated in the first round by the Nashville Predators. Corey Perry’s late season heroics led to him winning the league MVP award as the Hart recipient, due much to the help of Bobby Ryan.
There were once again talks of the Ducks retooling their roster, talks of a rebuild were swarming, the Ducks GM once again didn’t make any ground breaking moves, (The highlight being trading a 2nd round pick for Andrew Cogliano) The 11-12 season started and the Ducks seemed worse off than ever. They started off slow, their team seemed slow and played without heart. They knew a move needed to be made, and it was in early winter as they fired long-time coach Randy Carlyle, replacing him with Bruce Boudreau (Recently relieved from his duties as Washington Capitals Head coach) Boudreau did spark the team a little bit but not enough to salvage their season. Once again trade talks were storming, Bobby Ryan’s future seemed to be in jeopardy once again and he couldn’t figure out why. Once again posting up good numbers, scoring 31 goals (Making him one of 4 players to score 30 goals in those 4 respective seasons, in company of Steven Stamkos, Corey Perry and Alexander Ovechkin.) He was living up to the hype, he was the top line sniper that the team had hoped for. But reports continued to swarm, “Bobby Ryan looking for his own line” “Bobby Ryan unhappy” “Murray looking to move Bobby Ryan by deadline” were just some of the media reports. While it is known that Bobby Ryan wants to be a superstar, and wants to be the face of the franchise, he is part of one of the most potentially deadly lines in the NHL, yet he reportedly wants more, he wants to break away from Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
Following the 2011-2012 season, the Ducks reportedly disgruntled winger finally spoke out. In Early June Bobby Ryan spoke to a Ducks writer for the Courier-Post and was quoted as saying the following “I take things personally, “Anaheim, to me, has been a team over the past year that really has shown me nothing to prove that they want me here, unfortunately. Obviously, it’s not the ideal situation. When you get drafted, you want to win championships with that team and every time they look to add a piece to the puzzle, I’m the piece going the other way. I gotta be honest with you. At this point, I don’t care. Move me … because it’s just tough going to the rink every day knowing that if something goes wrong, you’re going to be the guy moved.” When asked about new coach Boudreau, Ryan was quoted as saying, “Bruce essentially changed my whole season around in Anaheim,” Ryan told the Courier-Post. “It was going downhill very fast. He came in and changed things around and really spoke to me on a level that I could understand. I loved playing for him. I thought going into the summer, with the second half that I had, some of the rumors would be put to rest. I don’t know what it is or what I have to do to put them away.”
The Ducks management was quick to retort, GM Murray was quoted as saying “I’d just like to say I’m disappointed at this time at his comments and I intend to talk to Bobby personally when we get back from the draft and clear the air a little bit.”
Since this article it seems as though it’s not a matter of IF Bobby Ryan will be traded but a matter of WHEN. Despite constant denial by Ducks Management, it seems as though either the media knows something that we don’t, or that they are squirting lighter fluid on an open flame. It’s obviously got to be nerve-racking going to your job every day, hearing that you may be the one “Fired” or in this case traded, but with the Management denying every report saying they are shopping Bobby Ryan, the question remains, is Management lying or is the Media pulling ideas out of thin air?
Whether Bobby Ryan will be traded or not has yet to be seen, with Ryan under contract for 3 more seasons it may not happen anytime soon if it does happen, Management could look into rebuilding this “burnt bridge” but is it too late? Has the ship sailed on Bobby Ryan being a Duck for his entire career? Only time will tell.
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