NHL Rumors: Bobby Ryan to the Philadelphia Flyers Imminent?

By Mark Donatiello

Bobby Ryan was rumored to be available throughout the entire NHL offseason, and the Philadelphia Flyers appear to be the most logical trade destination for the Anaheim Ducks winger.  After Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed with the Minnesota Wild, and Jaromir Jagr signed elsewhere, Philadelphia likely needs a big-name acquisition to contend comfortably in a loaded Atlantic Division.  The Flyers have the prospects needed to acquire Bobby Ryan, and more importantly, Bobby Ryan would be a great fit in the high-powered offense of the Philadelphia Flyers.

In four full seasons in the NHL, Bobby Ryan has never scored fewer than 31 goals for the Ducks.  He hasn’t missed a game in the last two years and his lowest points output is 57.  At 25 years old, the Philadelphia Flyers could be close to acquiring a winger to pair with Claude Giroux for years to come.  At just over 5.5 million dollars per season through 2015, Bobby Ryan is a steal for whatever team successfully acquires him.  With Corey Perry entering the final year of his contract, the Ducks appear to be willing to let Ryan go via trade.  This is a golden opportunity for the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers lack real top-line depth, and the lack of a dynamic supporting cast severely limits the development and production of Claude Giroux.  Giroux put up 93 points last season, but with a finisher like Bobby Ryan, there is no real ceiling on his production.  While the Flyers offense was productive again last season, the loss of Jagr will hurt and a big-name winger would give the Flyers one of the best top lines in hockey.

Philadelphia has the cap space to acquire one of the top-line scorers available this offseason.  Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets is also available, but the New York Rangers appear to be the frontrunners for his expensive services.  If the Rangers land Nash, the Flyers might be forced to answer.  Jakub Voracek, Matt Read, and draft picks should be plenty to land Bobby Ryan, but holding onto top-prospect Sean Couturier could be holding up a deal.

The market is undefined with free agents like Alexander Semin and Shane Doan still available.  Additionally, Rick Nash is still a Blue Jacket.  If Nash moves to New York, expect the Flyers to counter with a move for Bobby Ryan.  If Semin goes to the Atlantic Division, it could also force a trade.  Ultimately, there’s no rush and this trade appears far from imminent.  Once pieces start to come together, look for more moves to follow.

Bobby Ryan may be the last chance for the Flyers to bolster their roster this offseason.  The Flyers are likely still a middle-of-the-pack playoff team without him, but with Bobby Ryan Philadelphia is a true contender for the Stanley Cup.  If they fail to land Ryan, look for them to be in on the Shea Weber sweepstakes. Weber is a restricted free agent and is unlikely to sign long-term with the Nashville Predators and could be available as early as next season through free agency. While they let their prospects develop during a mediocre 2012-13 campaign, the Flyers could be setting up for the future.  Neither is a bad option, but a Bobby Ryan and Claude Giroux tandem would be bad news for the rest of the Atlantic Division.

The Flyers should make a trade for Bobby Ryan, as long as the package doesn’t include Couturier.  Ryan is young enough that the prospects they dump will likely never reach the promise he holds, and the Flyers need another top-line presence in the lineup to contend with the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers, especially if New York lands Nash.

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