Writer's note: As of this morning there is an NHL.com article on the same topic. For my own egotisical thrill I must point out my article was posted long before that one.
Recently, within the Anaheim Ducks organization, Bobby Ryan has begun to catch a lot of attention.
Originally, the interest began with the free-agent market. Those analyzing the Ducks depth chart began to expect Ryan would be placed in the lineup full time this year, rather than split time between the Ducks and minor leagues.
I was pleased with the slow going development of Bobby Ryan, until Kevin Lowe made comments about the young Duck recently, a aimed jab at getting a rise out of Ducks GM Brian Burke.
Lowe said that Ryan was a “questionable pick”—but my question is, why does he even care? That is for the Ducks to worry about. And the Ducks organization seems happy with Ryan’s development.
Personally, I’m very pleased with Ryan’s development. I don’t believe in putting a rookie, regardless of his talent, instantly in the lineup. That’s a lot of pressure. Ryan has developed enough with split time between Portland and Anaheim to do well enough to be expected to pull a regular shift on the second line.
Not bad for a "questionable pick"—if you ask me.
I am not writing this article to shake up more issues regarding Lowe’s comments, but instead to raise knowledge of the 2005 second-overall draft choice.
The 21-year-old, 6’1”, 218-pound right wing was born in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and was drafted out of Owen Sound of the OHL in 2005, right behind Sidney Crosby. Regardless of who you are, that’s hard company to keep.
Brian Burke believes in the development of draft picks, much like I do. Even a pick like Crosby would have probably found his way in the minor leagues. Perry did exactly what Burke and the organization have asked of him—split your time, produce, and grow as a player.
Well Bobby Ryan, now is your time.
With a second-line spot open for Ryan on the depth chart, he will look to capitalize on the great year he had last year. Ryan appeared in 23 games, scoring five goals (three on the power play) and five assists for 10 points. Ryan also recorded six penalty minutes in those 23 games.
During the playoffs, Ryan found himself back in Portland with the Pirates—who were chasing a championship. In 16 AHL playoff appearances, Ryan led the Pirates with 20 points.
Bobby he has found himself a spot with his name on it. Not many guys heading into camp—who spent half the year before in the minors—ever get to say that. And, far fewer see their name on the second line.
There are extremely high expectations for Bobby. With Lowe having called him out, now is the perfect time for Ryan to show the Ducks, and the rest of the NHL, what he is really made of.
The youth movement is on the forward lines in Anaheim. It’s a great time to be a Ducks fan.
Image: Courtesy of CBC