The Anaheim Ducks recent struggles could end up being a major boost for another NHL team.
The news that the Ducks are listening to offers for star winger Bobby Ryan has general managers around the league salivating.
“There has been enough speculation at this point in time that I would imagine (the Ducks) are listening,” Anaheim Ducks play-by-play announcer John Ahlers told Hockey Central @ Noon on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Tuesday.
“Bobby was even quoted recently the other day, saying ‘we expect management to do something now because of the way the team has played.’”
With just two wins in the last 18 games, the Ducks moved Ryan down to the third line in an attempt to shake things up.
Ryan is one of the Ducks marquee players, along with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
Both Getzlaf and Perry have one year left on their contracts and resigning both forwards is a major priority for the franchise.
“As mind-boggling as this seems to be, something has to give,” said Ahlers. “They’re on the precipice of not being relevant as far as the playoff picture is concerned, despite their late season rallies, which has been the norm the last couple seasons.”
Sportsnet’s Darren Millard suggested that every team in the league would be interested in Ryan because he is such a high-calibre a player.
Here is a list of teams that could make a serious play for the star winger:
Toronto Maple Leafs – Brian Burke drafted Ryan second overall in 2005 and has a good relationship with him and his management.
Ryan played for Leafs coach Ron Wilson as part of Team USA during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Phil Kessel was one of Ryan’s linemates during that tournament. Plus, Ryan played junior hockey in Owen Sound, so he is familiar with Ontario.
Burke is never shy to make a deal and cap space isn’t a major issue for the Leafs right now.
Sportsnet’s Doug MacLean said that it would take a steep offer for a team to add Ryan’s services.
“I think this guy has got superstar written all over him,” said MacLean. “Bobby Ryan’s are unbelievably hard to find … I would make a coaching change before trading Bobby Ryan … No matter what deal is made, Bobby Ryan will be the best player in the deal.”
MacLean suggested that it would take a deal like Luke Schenn, Nazem Kadri and a first-round pick for the Leafs to land Ryan.
New York Rangers – Whenever a big name is on the trading block, the Rangers’ ears are wide open. Although they have seemingly turned their season around (8-2 in their last 10 games) they rank 26th in goals for.
Players like Wojtek Wolski, Ruslan Fedotenko and Michael Del Zotto are expendable.
Throw a first-round pick into the mix and the prospect of Ryan playing alongside Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik is an exciting one.
Calgary Flames – The Flames are always looking for high-scoring forwards to compliment their captain, Jarome Iginla.
The Flames have only mustered 50 goals in 22 games this season and are in desperate need of offence. Centres Matt Stajan, Olli Jokinen and Mikael Backlund would welcome the opportunity to become a set-up man for Ryan.
The Ducks are thin on the back end, so it could mean moving a Jay Bouwmeester or Mark Giordano, but Calgary needs to shake things up.
Philadelphia Flyers – Even though they lead the league in goals for, the Flyers feel like they are contenders and adding a player with Ryan’s skill set could put them over the top.
The Flyers have solid depth on defense, but have no cap space. They would need to unload some salary to make room for Ryan and his $5.1 million cap hit.
New Jersey Devils – Ryan is from Cherry Hill, N.J., and players often have a soft spot for their hometown teams. The Devils need to sort out what to do with Zach Parise before they make a play for Ryan.
Parise is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. If the Devils can’t resign Parise, they will look to move him before the trade deadline. A Ryan-for-Parise trade would certainly be the blockbuster deal of the year.
Florida Panthers – The Panthers are one of the pleasant surprises thus far this season. They currently lead the Southeast division, but are a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of goals for. With over $13 million in cap space, the Panthers would have no issues adding some firepower to their lineup.