This is a blog. It is not a place where Bob McKenzie drops by and gives a 5 minute rumor column. It’s not a plethora of press releases. Usually, it’s me hammering out some 800 word opus in my sunroom. With that in mind, this is purely speculation and hypotheticals. And this particular entry is talking about Bobby Ryan and his availability.
It is no secret that the Predators have always needed goal scoring. The organization has always drafted offensive minded defensemen and safe, solid two-way forwards instead of playmakers (lone exception being Colin Wilson) high in the draft. The Anaheim Ducks finally cashed in on all those years they dwelled in the cellar to snag Getzlaf, Perry, and said Bobby Ryan. (the rest of their forward roster is a bunch of old guys and ruffians) With the right price these teams COULD do business. But, how far is too far?
If you swallow your pride and accept reality, you can acknowledge that Perry/Getzlaf/Ryan is/was the best line in hockey when clicking on all cylinders, except when either Crosby/Malkin/Neal or Ovechkin/Backstrom/Knuble gets rolling. We’ll settle for the best line in the west. Deal? Deal. But after that, who do the Ducks really have on their roster? Saku Koivu is old. Teemu Selanne is older. Jason Blake is also old. That’s a good second line, but it was much better about 6 years ago. Then the bottom 6 is just about a replica of a collection of henchmen from any Joe Pesci movie. Yes, the top line is awesome. The second line is very good. The bottom six is deplorable.
The Anaheim blueline may be thin, but there’s potential there. Cam Fowler is every bit as good as advertised. Lubomir Visnovsky is also a great fit, and guys like Lucas Sbisa also work well into their lineup. There’s room for improvement, but there’s not a glaring hole there aside from a #1 defender, and the Preds don’t want to lose their top two guys.
Bobby Ryan coming to Nashville almost makes sense when you look at the two organizations’ absolute opposite styles of drafting and developing. However, they seem to hate each other on the ice.
There lies the problem.
Would I trade Sergei Kostitsyn, Kevin Klein, and a pick for Bobby Ryan? In a damn second. That would strengthen their D-corps, add them a top six forward, and give Nashville a top grade scoring threat. Swap Klein for forward, and it gets a little hairy. Would you be willing to part with Hornqvist? (Me, no. He plays playoff hockey every night, and still hasn’t touched his ceiling). Wilson? (Me, no. He’s just now developing). Wish we still had Cal O’Reilly. He’d be a decent fit.
Ryan’s cap hit is around 5.1 million American Dollars. While he is the 3rd best player on his team, that’s an absolute steal of a contract. That’s why you don’t wait until the last possible second to give a guy a new deal. Look at the deal Toews and Kane are locked up for, and when they signed them. Sign players early, and save big. (Too bad Poile waited until the last possible second for Suter and Weber, not all his fault, but oh what could have been)
Kevin Klein is making $1.3 million. While this isn’t a “TRADE KLEIN… HE SUXX… BOOO!!!” blog, he has value and isn’t irreplaceable. Sergei Kostitsyn is making $2.5 million, and will need another deal next year. That’s not near enough compared to what else has been offered, but I’m not a fan of depleting a farm system for a player that doesn’t exactly fit the profile of the coach. Ryan will be asked to play some defense, something not normally asked in Anaheim. Matt Lombardi didn’t exactly like that idea, and wasn’t in good graces with Trotz when he got hurt. I’m not saying he overplayed his concussion syndromes, but the fact is that he wasn’t one of Barry’s favorite players.
If it’s prospects they want, we got ’em. They likely wouldn’t want Ryan Ellis (he’s Cam Fowler with more upside. And travel sized.) but Ekholm, Josi? We’ll talk.
The bottom line is that the pieces are there, but are the participants willing? Poile is still gunshy since the great trade for Forsberg, that set the franchise back a few years but likely saved the franchise by raising the profile of the team. Plus, the teams (on the ice) hate each other. But it’s business, and Poile doesn’t wear pads. Time will tell.