While Jason Spezza is going to grab all the headlines this summer, the Ottawa Senators have some other important business to take care of once July 1st rolls around. Entering the final year of his contract, signing Bobby Ryan to an extension will be high on Bryan Murray’s off season To Do list.
Bobby Ryan has indicated publicly that he has an interest in talking contract with the Senators and you would expect that’s a conversation Bryan Murray and his staff want to start as soon as possible.
Bobby Ryan made an impression on Ottawa fans in his first season in the Nation’s Capital. His numbers were a little lower than he would have liked (23 G 25 A 48 PTS) but a lot of that had to do with a sports hernia injury that was nagging him from November on. Ryan found chemistry on a line with Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris, quickly becoming the go to line for the Senators. And with Spezza, Michalek and Hemsky all possibly on the way out, they’ll be relied on even more this coming season.
On a team that will be desperate to find goals from its wingers, Bobby Ryan is an extremely important piece to the puzzle moving forward.
I’ll say this- if the Senators enter this conversation talking budget and fitting Ryan into their current spending structure, you can kiss Bobby Ryan good bye. Ryan has enjoyed his time here in Ottawa. He likes the team, the city and the way he has been treated by the organization. But like most other professional hockey players, he likes winning. And he wants to get paid. No hometown discount. And no, being part of a rebuilding team. It’s up to Murray and Melnyk to convince Ryan that this team’s priority is winning a Cup and that they see him as an important part of that process.
And it’s all that which has me a little nervous about this negotiation.
That said, Ottawa knows they have to find a way to get this done. After giving up a first round pick and two high end prospects to bring Ryan in, they can’t afford to lose him after a couple seasons. Murray knows that and hopefully Melnyk knows that too.
Ryan has been vocal about wanting to stay here in Ottawa. Now it’s up to Ottawa to prove they want him to stay. That process will start on July 1.