I've received a comment recently that sparked some thought regarding the signing of Bobby Ryan.
Basically, it mentioned that Toronto General Manager Brian Burke wants Ryan to be on his roster, and he would be willing to pay the big money to get Ryan in a Maple Leaf’s jersey come October.
With that in mind, it made me think of the reasons Ryan might chose Toronto over Anaheim in the end.
Money is only a small factor against the big picture.
Ducks General Manager Bob Murray suggested that there is plenty of money saved up for Ryan to stay in Anaheim. However, the contract talks continue. The debate may be in regard to the dollar signs, or it may be in regard to the length of the contract.
On the other hand, it may be due in part to what the Leafs can offer Ryan that isn’t listed in any contract.
Hockey fans know that in Toronto, an all-star player gets what they want. Toronto may have exactly what Ryan wants.
Ultimately, there are some major factors for Ryan to weigh.
In Toronto, there is the potential for bigger pay, a hot-bed hockey market, and a familiar GM in Burke. In Anaheim, Ryan can get the same Ryan Getzlaf/Corey Perry-sized salary and likely a shorter term to play in sunny southern California where he's already known and loved.
However, what many have yet to consider is the ego that might crave a Toronto type market. I wouldn't be surprised if we see Ryan chose that atmosphere over Anaheim for the potential glory.
Ryan knows the type of player he can become. He’s the guy drafted behind Canada’s Golden Boy, Sidney Crosby, waiting to prove his worth.
Likewise, Burke knows first-hand how great Ryan is. He was the man who drafted him in 2005 as the Mighty Ducks GM. He pushed Ryan to become more physically fit and held him back until he felt he was ready to enter the NHL stage.
If there is one thing a fan from Anaheim is well aware of, it is Burke's ability to bring players to his teams. He’s created champions before and that is something Ryan missed out on in Anaheim in 2007.
Not to mention Ryan is probably tired of being that guy who was after Crosby and would love the opportunity to prove that he is worth so much more.
Burke would be willing to give Ryan the opportunity to take the Maple Leafs back to that level of competition.
The NHL doesn't exactly give him the type of attention he craves on the West Coast. In Anaheim, there is even less, especially when you are playing on a team with Getzlaf and Perry. They tend to get more media mentions.
Getzlaf is undoubtedly and rightfully taking over the Anaheim franchise. Ryan has the same ability to become the face of a franchise, to be the leader of a team in scoring, and rebuild a team like Toronto into something that the fans can worship on a legitimate scale.
It is very possible to see Ryan test the market for that opportunity to find that team that wants him as a No. 1 forward.
Anaheim can’t offer him that type of role. Toronto can.
In the end, it may not come down to dollars and years. It may come down to fame and glory for the young winger.
Fans may have a difficult time seeing that aspect of Ryan’s decision. Unless Murray can prove that he's done everything in his power to keep Ryan with the Ducks, he might not want to show his face around Honda Center if Ryan trades in the black and orange for blue and white.