Sens fans, the blow of losing Daniel Alfredsson has been officially cushioned.
OK, Bobby Ryan isn’t going to step in as the captain and face of the franchise, but he is a younger winger who, before the truncated 2013 season, had scored 30 goals or more in each of his four full NHL seasons. Your depth chart has been topped up.
There has been a weird vibe around Ryan in Anaheim for a couple years now and his name was constantly bandied about in trade rumors. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were always seen as a tandem and the fact Ryan often played with them, but was mentioned separately gave the impression he was a third wheel. My take from talking to Getzlaf a while back is that though Ryan had different off-ice interests (playing musical instruments, for example) from the dynamic duo, there was no animosity, no reason to think of a rift; he was like a little brother to them. But like I said, for whatever reason, Ryan felt slighted at times by the organization that drafted him one slot after Sidney Crosby in 2005.
With a healthy Jason Spezza, Ryan has another elite running mate to work with and putting on a new sweater may be just the ticket for the youngster.
The worry comes in the void left by Alfredsson’s leadership. Without their longtime captain, the Senators will put even more weight on the shoulders of Chris Phillips and Chris Neil to lead what is a young team. Paul MacLean may be a Jack Adams-winning coach, but even he had ruminated on the importance of having Alfredsson in the dressing room lately.
In return, Anaheim got a pretty good haul for the winger. Jakob Silfverberg is beginning to show off his NHL potential and appears to be a solid top-six forward. Stefan Noesen will be turning pro next season after a stellar career with the Ontario League’s Plymouth Whalers and only an unfortunately timed suspension in the OHL kept him off Team USA’s gold-medal world junior team. He’s a powerful kid with a deft scoring touch and while a year in the American League would probably be the best destination for him in 2013-14, he has the size and pedigree (Ottawa took him 21st overall in 2011) to contribute at the NHL level in the near future.
And then there’s the first round pick. Ottawa was a playoff team in 2013, even after sustaining huge injuries to Spezza, Craig Anderson and Erik Karlsson. It stands to reason the next healthier edition of the team would be even better, but that overlooks a lot of factors – such as the changing divisional alignment, how other teams have improved and how the team comes together post-Alfie.
Should the Senators collapse, that first-rounder all of a sudden becomes a lottery pick and the trade looks a little worse. But Ottawa GM Bryan Murray needed to make a move and Ryan was both shocking and appropriate.
The Ducks had some prospects moving up the ranks, but turning Ryan into two potential NHLers in the near-future will help once Finnish immortals Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu decide to hit the saunas on a full-time basis. It’s too early to speculate on the quality of the 2014 draft since the kids haven’t even hit the ice yet, but at the least those first round slots have become great currency in the NHL.
Free agency day started off on a sour note for the Senators, but now they and the Ducks can feel at least OK about their circumstance.
Ryan Kennedy, the co-author of Young Guns II, is THN's associate senior writer and a regular contributor to THN.com. His column appears Wednesdays and The Hot List appears Tuesdays. Follow him on Twitter at @THNRyanKennedy.
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