Good discussion from Seth here, so I'm moving it to the front page - Dirk
As news broke out of Anaheim last night that Bobby Ryan was being shopped by the Ducks, discussions took off all across the league about the possibilities of who might be interested and where he might land. While it might be a bit far fetched to believe he'd wind up here in Nashville, conversations started during the game last night and lead to Jeremy K. Gover from Section303.com asking me to make a contribution to his round table discussion on the topic today.
After the jump, my thoughts on what it would take to land Bobby Ryan, but first be sure to read Jeremy's proposal as I reference it several times...
The reports of Bobby Ryan being on the trade block in Anaheim are certainly enough to get anyone excited, but with a gaping hole up front in terms of a lack of dynamic offensive talent, and the seemingly apparent need to bolster the offense and prove you are a serious Cup contender to retain your top defensive pairing past this summer, it should definitely spark some lively debate in the offices at 501 Broadway.
In my opinion, David Poile has rebuilt the talent base through the draft to where it was prior to the Peter Forsberg trade in 2007 and subsequent fire sale thereafter. By being patient and allowing the talent base to develop Poile has put the Predators into a position to absorb the cost of acquiring a star offensive player without leaving the cupboard bare and mortgaging the future. But don't be confused, going out to acquire a player of Bobby Ryan's stature will cost a lot and it will hurt.
I'm not sure Jeremy's proposal would be enough to land Ryan honestly. While the value is certainly there with 3 first round picks (Colin Wilson, Ryan Ellis, and our 2012 1st) and Teemu Laakso heading to Anaheim, I'm not sure it gives Anaheim the type of immediate help or change that they are looking for in terms of NHL ready talent. Don't get me wrong, Ryan Ellis could be playing in the NHL for some teams right now, but realistically he's still a young defenseman that will need protected minutes whenever he makes his NHL debut until he gets comfortable. Additionally, I'm not sure the "cringe" factor is honestly high enough yet to land a 24 year old three-time 30 goal scorer.
Landing Bobby Ryan would be quite the coup for David Poile. Not only would Bobby Ryan bring an immediate offensive punch to the Predators lineup, but he also comes signed at a modest $5.1 million salary through the 2014-15 season that he has the potential to far outplay given prices seen in free agency for 30 goal scorers in recent years. As Jeremy pointed out to me in our conversation, after seeing the extension given to James Van Riemsdyk in Philadelphia, Colin Wilson's restricted free agency status at the end of the season definitely highlights the financial value of possibly flipping in Wilson as the centerpiece of a Ryan package as well.
I'm not sure even this would be enough to get Anaheim GM Bob Murray to trade Bobby Ryan inside the Western Conference...
Colin Wilson, Jonathon Blum, Matt Halischuk, and our 2012 1st round pick for Bobby Ryan and Luca Sbisa
Why the Preds do it:
They get Bobby Ryan! I think this has been talked about enough already. The Blum for Sbisa trade will likely be viewed as a lateral move by some, but both teams have a lack of depth on their blueline right now. Adding Blum to Anaheim's backend gives them a young puck-moving two-way defenseman with local ties and adds a good skating stay-at-home defenseman to pair with Roman Josi as he transitions into the NHL. Josi and Sbisa have been paired together a lot as they grew up in Switzerland and were the top pairing for the Swiss as recently as the 2009 World Junior Championships and World Championships.
Why the Ducks do it:
The Ducks get Colin Wilson, a developing power forward with two years of NHL experience under his belt playing the best hockey of his NHL career yet and who still has a lot of room still left to grow. Wilson fits the Ducks lineup with his mix of physical and offensive skill and would have to be the centerpiece to any potential deal with Anaheim that made sense for the Predators.
They get California native Jonathon Blum in the deal. Blum, the first California native to be drafted in the 1st round of the NHL Entry Draft, has a long resume of success at the junior level and continues to grow at the NHL level. Blum adds an NHL ready defenseman to the Ducks lineup to compensate for the loss of Sbisa and arguably brings a higher development ceiling than Sbisa has at the moment.
And where it hurts...Matt Halischuk goes to the Ducks to bolster their depth up front bringing a relentless work ethic and nose for the net. The Ducks have been hurt by losing Jason Blake earlier this season and also by seeing Matt Beleskey's development stall before putting him on waivers to send to their AHL affiliate in Syracuse last week. While Halischuk doesn't replace Blake, he could provide a replacement for Beleskey in the Anaheim lineup and provide them with a versatile top-9 winger to move up and down the lineup as needed.
Are Poile and the Predators likely a front-runner to land Bobby Ryan if traded? No, they aren't. Could they be if the circumstances lined up right? Yes, they could be. That's where I think value lies here in this discussion right now. The clock is ticking. We have heard that the Preds will be significantly increasing their payroll this summer and we've heard repeatedly that it won't simply be for raises due to the core group of Pekka Rinne, Shea Weber, and Ryan Suter. It is vital to any team in the salary cap era to have a pool of NHL ready talent ready to step in on entry-level and second contracts to fill in the holes when you put the bulk of your salary into a core of star players. I think David Poile has built that pool and as he has said, "the window of opportunity" is open right now.
If the Ducks are open to trading Bobby Ryan inside of the Western Conference, I think we'd be remiss not to try to bring him to Nashville, but ultimately only Bob Murray will decide if the value is there from the Predators should he trade Bobby Ryan.