NHL Trade Rumors: Bobby Ryan Is a Must for Boston Bruins to Keep Up with East

Sam R. Quinn@SamQuinn_Senior Analyst IIIAugust 6, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 31:  Bobby Ryan #9 of the Anaheim Ducks awaits a face off during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on March 31, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Ducks 4-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Boston Bruins finished in second place in the Eastern Conference last season with 102 points. Tyler Seguin and company finished second in goals per game with 3.2 and sixth in goals against with 2.4.

That is all fine and dandy, but last year is last year. The Eastern Conference is a gauntlet of high-caliber teams that have done nothing but get better this offseason.

The New York Rangers acquired Rick Nash, Sidney Crosby will likely play a full season for the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Philadelphia Flyers are a well-oiled offensive juggernaut and the New Jersey Devils always find a way to hang around until the end.

That is exactly why the Bruins front office needs to do what it can to attempt to swing a deal for Anaheim Ducks winger Bobby Ryan.

According to ESPN, Ryan may still be on the move before the offseason is out:

There has not been a lot to talk regarding the Bruins this summer, but one rumor has picked up steam in recent weeks: That the Bruins and Ducks might have been discussing a swap involving center David Krejci and winger Bobby Ryan. 

The teams have had "exploratory" talks regarding Ryan, according to a source close to the situation, but Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has made it known that Krejci and Milan Lucic (also mentioned in recent trade rumors) are not available. 

Ryan is one of the up-and-coming young stars in the National Hockey League. At just 25 years old, he's proved himself to be a viable option on the right wing, and he's only going to get better.

The Bruins could sorely use a scoring and playmaking option on the right wing. 

Nathan Horton was the best true right-winger on the team last season, racking up 32 points in just 46 games. Ryan would be a huge upgrade over him, as he has accumulated at least 57 points in each of the last four seasons.

If the Bruins don't find a way to bring in Ryan, it looks like one of their Eastern Conference rivals will be able to do so.

According to Bucky Gleason of The Buffalo News (h/t Yahoo! Sports' Greg Wyshynski), the Buffalo Sabres are in the Ryan sweepstakes and have reportedly been talking about a deal with the Ducks.

The Sabres weren't a playoff team last season, but they were just three points shy of joining the party. If Ryan is added to a team with Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek, Buffalo won't be missing out on the chase for the Stanley Cup next season.

If Ryan doesn't wind up with the Bruins, the team will probably still make the playoffs anyway—but just making it to the playoffs is far from acceptable to the rabid Bruins fanbase.

Without Ryan, the Bruins won't be able to realistically compete with the powerhouse teams in the Eastern Conference next season.