Would Bobby Ryan be a good fit for the Chicago Blackhawks?
How might the Blackhawks improve in the short term? This is a question many people are going to be asking themselves, and free agency is probably the only real answer for the short-term.
Sure, the Chicago Blackhawks can draft their way to a brighter future by being terrible right now. This isn’t a proven recipe for success, but many people seem to have very strong feelings that this is the best possible option for Chicago given the team’s recent track record. It’s not like the Oilers didn’t try this and look where it got them.
September 25 was the first important day of the off-season for the NHL teams that don’t come from Dallas or Tampa Bay. Why? Because the buyout window opened.
Chicago cleaned house, right? No more Olli Maatta, Zack Smith, Andrew Shaw, or Brent Seabrook? Not so much. Only one team put a player on waivers Friday afternoon, the Ottawa Senators. Surprisingly, or not depending on who you ask, Bobby Ryan is set to be bought out.
It’s not clear what’s more intriguing about this, that only one player was going to be bought out on Friday, or that the one player is Bobby Ryan. There’s been chatter about Chicago possibly buying out players during the offseason, but that remains undecided.
Regardless, Ryan could be a perfect fit in Chicago. If Bowman could pull off a short deal like the one he got Brad Richards to sign after the Rangers bought him out, then Chicago’s forward depth could be significantly improved. The move by Bowman to sign Richards turned out to be a shrewd one, and Chicago benefitted mightily from it. He and Kane were a great pair and worked magic, all the way up until the end of the Stanley Cup Final.
Ryan is the same caliber player, although he has debatably fallen farther than Richards had when New York bought out the veteran center. This isn’t to suggest that Ryan should be slotted next to Toews on the top line, or Kane on the second line. Ryan’s best years are likely behind him, but he’s still a talented player. As a depth option, wouldn’t Kirby Dach benefit for having someone like Ryan on his wing?
Chicago’s forward depth is ok, but it could be better. If Stan Bowman could sign Ryan on a cheap, short-term deal to play in the bottom-6, then Chicago might have a steal on their hands that could help the team, and a young player immensely.
Forget about cap issues for a moment, that’s a separate problem. The obstacle to bringing in Ryan might be that recent signings like Cameron Morrison and Pius Suter may be expected to be competing for those bottom-6 roles. There could be a few too many players to try and fit into the line up by adding Ryan into the mix.
Again, this is only an interesting deal if the money works. Chicago has cap issues, but Ryan isn’t worth using a lot of cap space on. He’s good, but he’s not that good anymore.
If the Blackhawks hang on to Zack Smith, will there be a Senators reunion in Chicago? With the draft and free agency just around the corner, we won’t have to wait soon to find out. The offseason has truly begun!