Calgary Flames: Bobby Ryan Could Provide Solid Value at a Bargain Price

OTTAWA, ON - OCTOBER 5: Bobby Ryan (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
OTTAWA, ON - OCTOBER 5: Bobby Ryan (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) /

The Calgary Flames have a few holes to fill in their lineup. Could Bobby Ryan provide value on a cheap contract?

The Calgary Flames are looking to upgrade the roster this offseason, like every other team in the league. They also have to work within the constraints of the salary cap like every other team in the league.

This offseason, the Flames have a fairly long wish list. They could use another top six forward, especially one that can play right wing with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. They need to fill a large void on right defence that is about to be vacated by T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic who both appear set to hit the open market in two weeks.

Perhaps their biggest need of all is in goal. Cam Talbot is an unrestricted free agent and David Rittich needs a new partner to share the crease with.

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The Flames appear to have all kinds of cap space with capfriendly showing them close to $17 million under the cap. They do have to re-sign Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington who are restricted free agents and will eat up a few million. That sill leaves them about $13 million to spend, but they are looking to fill some big needs.

Ideally, if the Flames were allowed to spend as much money as they like, they would find a first line right winger, top pairing right defenceman and star goaltender.

However, that kind of business can cost a team a lot closer to $20 million rather than the $13 million they have available to use. So, they will have to cut a few corners somehow.

It wouldn’t make sense to cheap out on a goaltender and hope that Rittich can carry the load for 60 starts. He hasn’t proven to be able to do that and there is no more important position in hockey than goaltending. It would be wise to loosen the purse strings and acquire Jacob Markstrom, Anton Khudobin, Darcy Kuemper or Ben Bishop.

On defence, with Brodie and Hamonic leaving, there needs to be a solid, veteran right defenceman acquired. They don’t come cheap. Re-signing Brodie would likely require a raise on the $4.65 million he was already making and trying to lure free agents from other teams could cost even more.

So, that doesn’t leave a ton of money to pay a right winger. If the Flames are going to roll the dice on a cheaper free agent it would have to be at right wing.

Interestingly, Bobby Ryan was just cut loose by the Ottawa Senators and could be looking for a cheap, short term deal to regain some value. Ryan dealt with some personal issues involving alcoholism in the past year, and missed more than three months. He returned to play the team’s final eight games, and scored four goals in that time.

Ryan failed to perform up to the seven-year $50.75 million contract he signed in 2014. The $7.25 million cap hit was just too much for the player to live up to but what was he supposed to do, ask the Senators for less money?

It’s not like Ryan was a bad player, he just wasn’t worth that kind of money. And he won’t be getting that kind of money next season. After a miserable season, Ryan will be playing on a much different looking contract next year. If he can re-establish his value in a year, then he will sign a longer deal.

But where is a great spot for him to prove his real value once again?

Well, being given a chance to play with Gaudreau and Monahan wouldn’t be the worst spot to land.

Ryan didn’t put up a lot of points this season, but as recently as 2018-19, he scored 15 goals and 42 points in 78 games. The last time the Senators were in the postseason, Ryan had 15 points in 19 games as Ottawa made an improbable run to the Eastern Conference Final in 2017.

Could he bounce back and score 45-50 points again with the Flames? Absolutely. He has really only had one year before this season where he was on pace for less than 45 points and that was the 2016-17 season where he was terrific in the playoffs.

If he were given a chance to play in the Flames top six with either Gaudreau and Monahan or Mikael Backlund and Matthew Tkachuk, he could hit 50 points again. Considering he will probably be on a one-year contract worth less than $2 million, that would be tremendous value.

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Bobby Ryan may have just been bought out by the Ottawa Senators, but the 33 year old is healthy again and could easily bounce back to be a productive player. He is well worth the small risk it would take to sign him.