Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bobby Ryan Trade Watch

Bobby Ryan being shopped by the Anaheim Ducks has created a massive storyline that nearly every hockey writer and blogger is discussing. At 24, the 6'2 winger is a three time 30-goal scorer, and easily one of the most valuable commodities to have hit the market in recent times. The insiders have linked Ryan to half the league's teams, to no surprise. The Islanders, Rangers, Carolina, Calgary, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Montreal and Toronto have all been considered heavily interested, depending on who you ask. 

@incarceratedbob tweeted earlier this morning that the Rangers had a deal on the table, sending Ryan and an unidentified prospect to MSG for Michael Del Zotto, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and a #1 Pick. He goes on to say that Rangers GM Glen Sather nixed the deal because of his love for Dubinsky. Say what you will about rumour mongers and their reliability, it's not my intent to defend or tout them. What interests me is the package being considered, and using it as a benchmark for the value of the trade.

First, let's consider the money. Ryan makes $5.1 million a year. The Ducks still have some cap space, but the reasoning for this trade isn't savings, it's to spread the wealth amongst the line-up. The Ducks are top-heavy, as I mentioned in my previous post, and they lack depth. The Rangers, on the other hand, are right up against the cap, and would need to move salary in order to take on Ryan's contract. Dubinsky at $4.2 million, Anisimov at $1.875 million and Del Zotto at roughly $1.1 million certainly offsets the value of Ryan's contract, and in fact gives the Rangers some breathing room. The 25 year old Dubinsky and Ryan are under contract for the same amount of time, giving the Ducks a savings of $900k for roughly 10 goals and 16 points if compared equally. Anisimov has another year after this one under contract, is 6'4 and 23 years of age, and registered 10 fewer points than Dubinsky, but is definitely on the rise. He offers good value for his contract, but will be due for a raise. Del Zotto is in the final year of his ELC, and at 21 he is controllable as an RFA, and has the pedigree of a skilled offensive defenceman. 

The Rangers would be giving up 3 players 25 years of age or younger, two big forwards worth 98 points combined last year, and a gifted young defenceman who put up 37 points in his rookie campaign, plus a 1st round pick. That is a staggering amount of talent for a 71 point player last season, but players of Ryan's calibre are rare. The Ducks are also due to throw in a prospect, which makes the proposed deal all the more interesting. Neither of these teams is really in a position to be moving a defenceman. The Rangers made a move earlier in the season to sign Anton Stralman, and though they have Erixon and McDonagh in the system, they will feel the loss of Del Zotto. Anaheim does not have a prospect on defence worthy of New York's interest. They'd likely target forwards Kyle Palmieri or Emerson Etem.

There are certainly variables to be considered. Are Ryan's numbers a true indicator of the player he is, or the product of playing on a line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf? The Rangers are definitely placed to be a contender in the East, especially having signed Brad Richards. There is a finite window of opportunity here, and a player like Ryan might enable them to compete with the Penguins this season and next for certain. Would the loss of 3 players be a disruption large enough to cause detriment to the team's identity?

We won't get the answers to those hypotheticals because Glen Sather backed out before it came to fruition, and late last night the Ducks fired coach Randy Carlyle, opting to sign Bruce Boudreau 48 hours after having been fired by the Washington Capitals. Is Bob Murray still eager to move Ryan after hiring Boudreau? A new coach certainly breathes new life into the team, but won't give the team the depth it needs now, much less next year when it loses players like Selanne, Koivu and Blake. Anaheim will have money to blow, but the free-agent pool isn't exactly flush with talent in the coming off-season, and they don't have enough prospects to rely upon heading forward.

I think Sather made the right move in not overpaying for Ryan, if this deal was in fact on the table. I also feel that the Ducks will still deal Ryan in order to restock the team with depth and talent. I think at the end of the day they will not receive quite so big a ransom for his services, but I could see a deal similar to this one, perhaps without the first-round pick and/or the prospect joining Ryan out coming to fruition.

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