The rumors circulated for months, picking up considerably before the June 30 NHL draft.
Bobby Ryan, star forward for the Anaheim Ducks, was destined to become a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. Already a fan favorite, it seemed inevitable that the New Jersey native would soon don the orange and black sweater.
We were wrong.
Ryan was traded to the Ottawa Senators on Friday in exchange for forwards Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen and the Senator’s first round pick in the 2014 NHL draft. Ryan will earn $5.2 million a year as a Senator until his contract expires in 2015.
Flyers fans should rejoice.
Paul Holmgren is a wildly unpredictable GM, one who always looks makes a splash during the NHL offseason. He will stop at nothing to improve the Flyers, but the asking price for Ryan was simply too high, even for Holmgren. It was widely speculated that the Flyers would have to ship either Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier to Anaheim, along with Braydon Coburn and future draft picks.
In Schenn, the Flyers have found a grity and aggressive forward. His high-tempo style of play motivates the team and electrifies the crowd. Couturier, meanwhile, plagues the division rival Pittsburgh Penguins, famously shutting down superstar Evgeni Malkin during the 2012 playoffs.
He’s also displayed his scoring touch, notching a hat trick in his first career playoff series. The duo have tremendous upside, and could one day exceed Ryan in terms of skill and ability.
Coburn is a tough and durable defenseman, an absolute necessity for the Flyers. While he won’t be scoring many goals, he serves as a valuable asset on the injury-riddled blue line, recording a career plus-minus of 30 over 493 games.
Most significant is the $5.2 million contract associated with Ryan. While he is indeed worth the price, the Flyers suffer from no shortage of talented forwards, including Jakub Voracek, newcomer Vincent Lecavalier and Claude Giroux, who was recently given a $66.2 million, eight-year contract extension. The Flyers require defensive talent, an attribute Ryan cannot bring to the table.
And so, Flyers faithful, retire your hopes. The “#BringBobbyHome” tweets can be deleted. You can stop circulating the childhood photograph of Ryan in a Flyers jersey. Ryan is an Ottawa Senator, and will be for the remainder of his contract.
Than again, its only two years.