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Senators top Maple Leafs but lose Bobby Ryan for a month

The Ottawa Senators’ 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night came with a price.

After the game coach Guy Boucher confirmed that veteran forward Bobby Ryan broke his right index finger during the game and is expected to miss at least the next month.

Ryan has yet to score a goal for the Senators in eight games this season but has recorded five assists.

He fought through an injury plagued season in 2016-17 that ended with one of the worst individual stat lines of his career. He was able to salvage the season however with a tremendous postseason performance that saw him finish with 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 19 games as the Senators went all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals where they would lose in double overtime.

The Senators are off to a great start this season earning at least a point in seven of their first eight games (4-1-3).

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Under Pressure: Bobby Ryan

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This post is a part of Senators day at PHT…

It was an interesting season for Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan in 2016-17.

For most of the regular season he struggled through injury and the worst offensive season of his career, managing just 12 goals and 13 assists in 62 games. But once the playoffs started Ryan seemed to rediscover his previous scoring touch and was arguably the Senators’ best players on their surprising run to the Eastern Conference Final, recording 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 19 games. He was at his best during their opening round series when he tallied seven of those points (including four goals) in their six game win over the Boston Bruins.

Later, he scored an overtime winner in the Eastern Conference Final against Pittsburgh and finished the playoffs as their second-leading scorer behind only superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson.

Overall, it was a great playoff run and helped salvage what could have been a lost season for Ryan on an individual level.

Now starting fresh in 2017 the Senators are probably left wondering which player they are going to get: The one that saw his offensive production take a pretty significant drop, or the one that was a fairly dominant force in the playoffs.

The one thing that can be said about Ryan’s time in Ottawa is that his production has remained remarkably consistent on a year-to-year basis. This past season was the first time it really suffered a noticeable drop so it is entirely possible the injury played a huge role in that.

But he is also entering his age 30 season and there is going to come a point in his career where his production is going to drop a little more simply because that is what happens to players when they start to get into their 30s. With still five years and more than $35 million remaining on his current contract the Senators are going to need to hope that decline stays away for a bit longer and that the 2016-17 regular season was simply an outlier due to a tough season and an injury that slowed him down.

Bobby Ryan doesn’t seem too concerned about being taken in the expansion draft

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The Ottawa Senators had their final meeting with the media for the 2016-17 season on Saturday following their disappointing Game 7 loss in the Eastern Conference Finals.

One of the more entertaining moments came during Bobby Ryan‘s scrum when he was asked if he has given any thought to potentially being taken in the expansion draft by the Vegas Golden Knights.

Ryan quickly responded by saying “No,” before laughing and saying “are they going to take $7 million?” He continued to laugh, saying, “I think I’m good.”

The $7 million comment is obviously in reference to his contract that still has five years remaining on it and carries a cap hit of $7.25 million the rest of the way.

The thing is, though, Vegas would almost certainly take a $7 million player if they felt they were going to get $7 million worth of production along with it. Especially since the team has an obligation to take on a certain amount of money in the expansion draft and reach the NHL’s salary floor. Ryan had a down year for the Senators, recording only 25 points in 62 games during the regular season, by far the worst offensive season of his career. He did salvage the year in the playoffs, however, by bouncing back with 15 points in the Senators’ 19 playoff games during their run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Three of his six goals in the playoffs were game-winners, including an overtime goal in Game 1 of the series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

That said, Ryan is probably correct that Vegas will not be taking him, if for no other reason than his age (he turns 31 next March) and the fact his contract has so many years remaining on it.

The expansion draft will take place on Wednesday, June 21, and every team in the league will lose one player to the NHL’s newest team.

Video: Bobby Ryan crunches Chad Ruhwedel, who has yet to return

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The Pittsburgh Penguins could be facing another injury on defense.

According to reports, Chad Ruhwedel wasn’t on the Penguins bench for the beginning of the second period, after he took a crunching and controversial hit from Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan in the final minute of the first period during Game 4.

As you can see in the video, Ruhwedel remained down on the ice in pain while a scrum ensued along the boards. Ian Cole, who came to the defense of Ruhwedel, dropped Ryan to the ice and was assessed a minor penalty for roughing. That was the only penalty on the play.

With Ruhwedel gone for now, the Penguins — already with Kris Letang and Justin Schultz — will be forced to play with five defenders.

Pittsburgh trails in the series 2-1, but took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

Related: WATCH LIVE: Penguins at Senators — Game 4

Bobby Ryan finally ‘getting a reward’ after a difficult regular season

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After a difficult regular season that included injury, time as a healthy scratch and underwhelming offensive production, Bobby Ryan has emerged as a pivotal contributor to the Ottawa Senators during the playoffs.

In 13 post-season games, Ryan has five goals and 11 points. He had only 13 goals and 25 points during the regular season — with a $7.25 million cap hit. He’s in the second year of a pricey seven-year contract.

He was a dominant player for Ottawa in the first round, and on Saturday, he set up Jean-Gabriel Pageau for his opening goal and then scored the winner in overtime, giving the Sens a 1-0 series lead.

On the goal, Ryan chipped the puck out of the zone and then outraced Olli Maatta for the loose puck before making a move to the backhand on Marc-Andre Fleury.

He’s been a different player in the playoffs.

He did admit following Saturday’s game that it took him a very long time to get adjusted to the system coach Guy Boucher put in place.

“Game 82. It took me longer than most,” he said of getting comfortable with the Boucher system. “I had a tough year with the learning curve. I had some growing pains with it, and I think that’s evident. I think everyone is well aware of that.

“I bought in like everyone else on the team and stuck with it. I’m finally, I guess, getting a reward for it by being here. I said before I would trade all the offense in the world to be in … the Eastern Conference Finals, and pretty happy about it.”

For most of Saturday’s game, the Senators were able to frustrate the Penguins, keeping them off the score board until late in the third period. That set up the opportunity for Ryan, as he sped away on Maatta and finished the game off with a beautiful goal.

Erik Karlsson has garnered headlines for being an absolute star for Ottawa in the playoffs. Pageau has provided plenty of heroics. Ryan has put together some dominant performances, as well. What happened in the regular season seems long ago now.

“I just think that he really became a good, solid two-way player, but that’s what we’ve asked of all our players, whether it’s our defensemen or our forwards,” said Boucher.

“Some guys took a bit more time to be consistent at it, but we’ve seen terrific stretches of Bobby the whole year. For me right now, this is just the finishing part, that’s where it’s paying off. That’s it.”