Anyone heard from Bobby Ryan lately?

BobbyRyan3.jpgThis isn’t the start of a poorly imitated Seinfeld joke, but… What’s the deal with Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan? The last we saw of Ryan was during the NHL Awards when he and Ryan Getzlaf were yukking it up in a hilarious skit about their United States versus Canada duel. Since then? Lots of public negotiating on the part of Anaheim GM Bob Murray to, perhaps, get Ryan grounded into a better sense of reality.

Now there’s been a lot of silence on the part of both sides, and no one really seems to know what’s going on as Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register tells us.

The two sides, who appear to be at a legitimate stalemate, are playing it cool for now as Ryan’s lead Newport Sports Management agent, Don Meehan, said in an e-mail to the Register that there have been “no discussions” since Ducks GM Bob Murray revealed the winger turned down reported contract offers of five years and $25 million and four years and $18.6 million.

Murray said last week that there was “nothing new to report” with the situation, which is among the lingering issues that the Ducks are dealing with. He has had regular conversations with Teemu Selanne, which will continue into next week.

Obviously the Ducks would like to get both Ryan and Selanne back into the mix, but whether or not Selanne plays is up to him, he can retire whenever he wants to and it’s a future the Ducks know is coming upon them sooner than later. For Bobby Ryan, however, he is Anaheim’s future and he’s very much their present as well. Ryan made $1.9 million last year and he’s due for a raise and as a restricted free agent, it’s tough to gain too much leverage in negotiations. Even though Ryan’s last two seasons saw him score 31 and then 35 goals, without another team stepping in and signing him to an offer sheet, he can’t really push the Ducks management around into taking action.

Given those two offers made to him for $5 million a year and $4.65 million a year, there’s got to be some brand of common ground to be had as the numbers aren’t outrageous and Anaheim certainly isn’t hard up against the cap, especially with defenseman Scott Niedermayer having retired. Orange County Register columnist Randy Youngman is curious as to what the hold up is as well and points the finger Ryan’s way while scaring Ducks fans into offer sheet madness.

Ryan already has said he’s not worth more than linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, both of whom earn an average of $5.3 million a year, so what’s the hold-up?

Is Ryan’s agent trying get another team to make a bigger offer to the restricted free agent, forcing the Ducks to match? My guess is Ryan believes he’ll be worth more than $5 million in the final years of the contract, so he would prefer to sign for, say, only three years.

It would be interesting, however, if the Kings presented Ryan with an offer sheet worth more than $25 million. That would intensify an already heated rivalry.

Using the cross-town rival to strike fear into the hearts of the local fans isn’t really a new tactic and with the Kings being a bit tied up with Ilya Kovalchuk, it frankly doesn’t make much sense in the first place. That said, the fear of a team with a lot of cap space and a great need for a big time goal scorer offering Ryan a huge offer sheet is very real and one that GM Bob Murray should keep in mind while working out a deal.

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    Van Riemsdyk trying to block out trade talk

    TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 15:  James van Riemsdyk #25 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates a goal against the Boston Bruins during an NHL game on October 15, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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    Remember those Dougie-Hamilton-to-Toronto trade rumors Brian Burke shot down last week? Well, in case you don’t, a refresher:

    The Leafs, reportedly in the market for a defenseman, were reportedly willing to part with a winger — a position Calgary is looking to upgrade — which led many to speculate on a Hamilton-for-William Nylander swap.

    Or, a Hamiton-for-James van Riemsdyk deal.

    This week, JVR responded to the banter.

    “You don’t really worry about it too much,” he said, per the Toronto Sun. “(Blocking it out) comes from experience.

    “It tends to eat at you a little bit more (when you’re younger), but now you realize it is completely out of your control and it does not really faze you as much.”

    Van Riemsdyk, who leads the Leafs with 11 goals and 20 points through 24 games this year, is fairly tantalizing as far as potential additions go. He’s on a good contract (two years left at $4.25 million per) and has been a pretty consistent scorer for the Leafs, which included a career-high 30 goals in ’13-14.

    At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, he’s got solid size and has long been viewed as one of the better power forwards going.

    This, of course, is the exact reason why Toronto would want to keep van Riemsdyk. It’s important to remember that he only turned 27 in May, and could easily be a part of the core group of Nylander, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Morgan Rielly, Nazem Kadri et al.

    Despite winning record, Rangers ‘very aware’ they must be better

    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Head coach Alain Vigneault of the New York Rangers leaves the ice following a 5-0 defeat against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 21, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    The New York Rangers may be winning, but their head coach, Alain Vigneault, knows they need to be better.

    Hmmm…this feels familiar for some reason.

    Oh right, that’s because it was the same story last season, when the Rangers got off to a great start before tailing off then fizzling out in the playoffs.

    The Rangers head into tonight’s game in Brooklyn with a record of 17-8-1. That’s the good news.

    Here’s the bad — in five of their last six games, they’ve been held to 25 shots or fewer. On the season, their score-adjusted Corsi has fallen to 26th in the league.

    “We’re very aware and very conscious of the areas we need to be better at,” Vigneault said, per the New York Post. “We’re playing a team that’s playing real solid hockey.”

    Indeed, the Islanders are 3-0-1 in their last four, including wins over Pittsburgh and Washington.

    To be fair to the Rangers, they’ve been without Mika Zibanejad for the past seven games, and he was a big part of their early success. Tonight, they’ll also be without Michael Grabner, who’s gone back to Austria for his grandmother’s funeral.

         Read more: The new-look Rangers are dangerous on every line

    But the Rangers aren’t looking to make excuses. They’re looking instead to get back on track.

    “It’s definitely a five-man thing for us and communication and just getting on the same page again,” forward Jimmy Vesey said, per the Daily News. “It’s definitely something we need to get back to, and I think that’s kind of like the recipe for being a good team down the line and in the playoffs.”

    After waiving Enroth, Toronto signs Ramo to AHL deal

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Calgary Flames
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    Kari Ramo took another step in his return to the NHL on Tuesday, signing a PTO with the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, the Marlies.

    The deal, first reported by TSN, comes one day after Toronto placed backup netminder Jhonas Enroth on waivers.

    “Obviously, wasn’t going good enough,” head coach Mike Babcock said of the decision to waive Enroth, per TSN. “We’re just in a situation where we’re making a change.”

    (Enroth cleared today, FYI.)

    As for Ramo, he’s an interesting figure. The 30-year-old suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Calgary this past February and, at the time of the injury, led all Flames netminders in starts, with 33.

    Prior to that, he’d rebounded from a poor start to the year — which included Calgary waiving him — and, in January, then-head coach Bob Hartley called Ramo “probably one of the hottest goalies in the league.”

    So it’s easy to see why Toronto would be interested.

    Of course, Ramo is coming off a major knee injury and has basically been shelved for 10 months. He’s been practicing with the Leafs, but this ATO with the Marlies will give him a chance to test the knee in a game situation, and knock off some of the rust that’s surely accumulated.

    Ramo is believed to be close to receiving medical clearance for a return to action.

    Justin Schultz is having a pretty good season

    PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 20:  Justin Schultz #4 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates with the puck in the first period during the game against the San Jose Sharks at PPG PAINTS Arena on October 20, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
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    It was Justin Schultz‘s kind of game last night in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins beat the Senators, 8-5, in a fun, back-and-forth affair.

    Schultz was in on a pair of Pittsburgh goals, scoring one and assisting on another. The 26-year-old defenseman now has three goals and eight assists in 26 games. And on a good team that can put him in a position to succeed, he’s a plus-13.

    Schultz, of course, joined the Penguins last season in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers. He won a Stanley Cup in June, then re-signed for one year and $1.4 million in July.

         Read more: Justin Schultz quietly making big impact on Penguins power play

    “He deserves a lot of credit for the effort, the commitment level he’s shown,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Friday, per the Post-Gazette.

    Sullivan too deserves credit, for playing Schultz to his strengths and bringing out the best in an imperfect player. An offensive defenseman, Schultz is not being asked to do much of the heavy lifting defensively. He starts a lot of shifts in the attacking zone, and he doesn’t play very often against the opposition’s best.

    Last night, Schultz displayed his offensive instincts and abilities, jumping up in the rush to take a pass from Evgeni Malkin, then burying it for the go-ahead goal.

    Schultz ended up logging 19:54 of ice time, including 16:20 at even strength, the most among Penguins d-men.