Philadelphia Flyers: Long Lockout Would Mean No Bobby Ryan in Philly

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Philadelphia Flyers: Long Lockout Would Mean No Bobby Ryan in Philly
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This offseason featured a plethora of trade rumors (via ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun) attaching Anaheim Ducks’ right winger Bobby Ryan to, among other teams, the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Ducks and Ryan have had their issues over the last two seasons. The Cherry Hill, New Jersey native’s roots near the Flyers led him to insinuate that Philadelphia would be an ideal destination (via USA Today). Given Philadelphia’s lack of a true goal-scorer to play with Claude Giroux, acquiring Bobby Ryan was an attractive option for Philly.

Of course, the price of the deal proved to be an obstacle, and the trade never occurred. In addition, Ryan seems to have repaired his relationship with the front office in Anaheim, in part thanks to his new head coach, Bruce Boudreau (via Eric Stephens of The Orange County Register):

I know that I have Bruce's support and that means a lot to me. The general manager is obviously the person that pulls the strings behind the curtain. But having the support of your head coach...I feel like I have a great relationship with Bruce.

I think that if Bruce wants me here, I'm here to stay.

Though the rumors have died down, hanging over Anaheim’s head are the expiring contracts of their captain and top scorer, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry respectively. Both players are key members of the Ducks’ offense, and could be labeled as more valuable than Ryan despite his scoring success.

If the NHL were functioning under normal circumstances, the Ducks would have had the opportunity to extend Getzlaf and Perry beginning in July 2012 and running all the way through the moment free agency began in July 2013. No other team would be able to negotiate with Getzlaf or Perry until July 1st of next year.

Harry How/Getty Images

The moment the lockout began in the wee hours of last Sunday morning, that process stalled. Like most free agents of Getzlaf and Perry’s caliber, a fair extension that benefits both team and player could not be completed in that limited time frame with no hard deadlines, lockout deadline notwithstanding.  

With the players locked out, the Ducks’ organization cannot negotiate with their stars.

Should the lockout continue through the next offseason, Getzlaf and Perry could find themselves automatic free agents the moment a deal is finally reached. It is conceivable that a deal between the NHL and NHLPA could allow a grace period for teams to re-sign players, but even that time may prove to be too little to sell the players on why they shouldn’t test unrestricted free agency.

If the teams were to begin playing soon, the Ducks would have nearly a full nine months to get Getzlaf and Perry under contract. That period of time allows each side of the negotiation to feel out the other side, and the Ducks could come to the conclusion that the money required to invest in its impending free agents put too much of the cap on the top line.

Trading Ryan before the trade deadline would not only save the team salary cap space, but they could add needed depth to their offense or prospect system. The Flyers, as well as other teams, could conceivably construct a deal that would bring Ryan to Philadelphia.

If the Ducks had little (or no) time to negotiate with Getzlaf and Perry, the gamble of giving up one player without being sure that they can sign two would likely be too risky for Anaheim brass. Even with a grace period, the Ducks would not only have to orchestrate two long-term contracts, but also a fair trade.

Simply put, the Bobby Ryan trade window is completely contingent upon long negotiations with Getzlaf and Perry.

Naturally, the Flyers would not mind adding Perry to their ranks via free agency, but Ryan already comes at a fair, reliable price tag and would likely perform well alongside Claude Giroux. Without knowing the limits that will be imposed on free agency when the lockout ends, it is impossible to determine whether or not the Flyers could be realistic contenders for Perry’s services.

The Ryan rumors ran their course in the offseason, but would have almost certainly been reinvigorated by the trade deadline. Whatever possibility existed of Ryan becoming a Flyer in the near future relied too heavily on Anaheim’s attempt to sign Getzlaf and Perry, and the lockout has the potential to gravely affect that process.

 

Dan Kelley has been a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist since 2011. Follow him on Twitter: @dxkelley

 

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