Nov 292011

According to Daren Millard and Nick Kypreos, the Ducks are shopping Bobby Ryan. Shocked? So am I. The Ducks’ trio of Ryan, Getzlaf, and Perry is the team’s offensive core, but the team’s cap structure may be too top heavy.

The Ducks are faltering this year with just one win in their last ten and currently sit second-last in the West, just ahead of Columbus. Part of the reason is Jonas Hiller, who is really struggling with a 3.22 GAA and sub-.900 SV%. Poor goaltending cost Bruce Boudreau and Paul Maurice their jobs (among other things, of course),┬ábut Randy Carlyle is signed through 2014, and the cash-strapped Ducks would rather get rid of Ryan’s $5.1M cap hit.

Getzlaf is the team’s captain, so he’s not going anywhere, and neither is reigning Hart Trophy winner Perry, even if they only have 14 goals between them and combine for a woeful -23. That leaves Ryan as the odd man out, but where will he go, if he is traded?

It’s hard to see Ryan stay in the West – he’s a great player with 40-goal potential and the Ducks won’t want to face him throughout the year. Ryan is signed through 2015, but in this case Ryan’s contract is not a deterrent because he’s a young player with plenty of upside.

Most teams won’t be able to add Ryan without giving up a significant piece, and only Florida, Winnipeg (for now), Ottawa, Carolina, and the Islanders are the only East teams that have more than $5M in cap space. All 29 teams can use a young, budding superstar like Ryan, but the key question is price and fit.

The Ducks have tons of holes to fill, but I hope Murray doesn’t take a grab bag package for Ryan like the Flames did for Phaneuf. Historically speaking, trades in which quality is swapped for quantity don’t work well for teams giving up the most talented player in the trade. Whoever gets Ryan will have to make sure he fits too – while he’s a great end-to-end player with a long reach (his stick’s almost as long as Pronger’s) and amazing hands, teams have to be wary that he’s not great defensively and needs a centre to play with.

The Ducks have experimented with Ryan in the middle, but he’s been much more effective on the left wing with Getzlaf and Perry. Murray will be looking for somebody young to really solidify the team’s depth down the middle since Saku Koivu is close to the end of his career and Andrew Cogliano is clearly not the answer.

The Ducks may also look to beef up their blueline, having allowed 76 goals already, which is third worst in the league behind only Ottawa and Carolina. Lubomir Visnovsky has been invisible all season, with just four points in 16 games after finishing with 68 last year. Cam Fowler is -13, and last year’s unsung hero, Toni Lydman, is -11.

Where can I see Ryan land? I really don’t know. The thing is, players like Ryan don’t become available too often, and when they do become available a lot of teams kick some tires. Even the good teams, those with no incentive to make roster changes, will pay for Ryan if the price is right.

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