There’s a horrible 80’s hair metal song out there - actually, maybe it’s not that awful, I’m no judge of that era of music because I’ve only enjoyed the occasional Dr. Feel Good and Def Leppard song* here and there - that really nails it when a team gives up on a player to soon. The message is as simple and straightforward as its song title: “Don’t Know What You Got Til It’s Gone.”
Again, it’s a lousy tune.
But still, it really does get the job done. Sports are complicated and simple at the same time; people wear out their welcome in lightning speed, and while sometimes that works out the best for everyone, there are plenty of moments when hindsight dictates that parting ways with a promising youngster ends up being a huge (maybe hilarious) mistake. So that song title can nail it sometimes.
Down Goes Brown (Sean McIndoe)’s “All-Time Gave Up Too Soon” team mentions Tyler Seguin, and considering the fact that he’s only 21, it will probably be an astute observation. Really, the guy has 8-10 years to show the Boston Bruins that they made a huge mistake.
Maybe the ceiling is lower, but a different gave up too soon situation happened this summer when the Anaheim Ducks booted Bobby Ryan out of town for a package of picks and prospects.
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SOMETIMES THINGS REALLY ARE THIS OBVIOUS
Bobby Ryan trade rumors existed long enough and popped up frequently enough that his trade seemed like a foregone conclusion. Toronto Maple Leafs fans can think of it as Orange County, California’s answer to those seemingly endless Tomas Kaberle rumors, except Ryan has a lot - instead of basically nothing - left in the gas tank.
Ryan, 26, played in six seasons before 2013-14, but he only played in 23 games in 2007-08 and last season obviously was a stat-busting 48-game joke.
So, one could make a legitimate argument that Ryan has scored 30+ goals in every season in which he's given a legitimate chance to score that many (that includes 2008-09, when he managed 31 goals in just 64 games). If you want to be cold-hearted, you'd still have to agree that he's done it in four of his six career seasons.
Well, chew on this. Since the first season he received a true shot at the NHL level - 64 games in 08-09 - through 2012-13, Ryan's 142 goals rank 13th among active players. That's just one fewer goal than both Daniel Sedin and Jonathan Toews, two fewer than Eric Staal and three less than Thomas Vanek. (Corey Perry came in at fifth with 161 and Ryan Getzlaf with was tied for 82nd with 89.)
THE OTHER OTHER POWER FORWARD
On top of all that, keep in mind that Ryan produced in a wide variety of situations. He hasn’t always had an ideal linemate. As the “other, other power forward” in Anaheim, Ryan has been forced to adapt to a wide variety of linemate scenarios while Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry ran their whole buddy comedy shtick as far as it would go.
In a way, Ryan really isn’t that far behind those two, especially since he’s still on a deal that generates a bargain $5.1 million cap hit that runs through 2014-15.
Hopefully we don’t need to spend much more time questioning the foolishness of punting an affordable, four-time 30+ goal scorer out of town for a bouquet of prospects/knick knacks that may or may not work out.
Or, at least, you can hold that debate once more in another venue. I think it was pretty foolish, but let’s instead talk about his potential in Ottawa.
Over three games, Bobby Ryan is averaging 17:04 time on ice and 1:30 PP TOI. On the bright side, no forward has received more than 1:50 PP TOI per game than Clarke MacArthur's through three games. (Ottawa's eight PP opportunities ranks 24th in the NHL so far this year.) So we can say he isn’t lacking for opportunities.
Despite scoring a goal and an assist in Wednesday’s game without Jason Spezza, the health of his high-level potential linemates (Spezza and Milan Michalek) might be the biggest factor in his production.
Spezza is getting over offseason surgery and Michalek avoided knee surgery with the mysterious methods other-sport athletes such as Alex Rodriguez and Kobe Bryant investigated.
If those two are healthy, that Michalek-Spezza-Ryan trio could be one of the best in the NHL. History says that Ryan will get his goals no matter what, but he goes from a home run in uncertain circumstances to a grand slam in an everyone-is-healthy scenario.
After the jump: game notes and injuries.
* - In case you’re unwilling to click a link, I do NOT have a sweet spot for “Pour some sugar on me.” Sorry, strip clubs.