Ducks GM Bob Murray may take a different approach to signing RFA Bobby Ryan

Thumbnail image for ryanhighfive.jpgWe didn’t get the closure many were expecting on the big Ilya Kovalchuk contract situation, but another big-time scorer is still on the outs with his team. That would be restricted free agent Bobby Ryan, a player who is still at an impasse with the team who drafted him, the Anaheim Ducks.

Rather than being about sheer dollar amounts, the brick wall is in the term of the contract. The Ducks would prefer a five-year deal that eats up a couple of years of Ryan’s unrestricted free agent opportunities. Ryan wants a three-year deal so he can earn more than what he’d make in the Ducks’ proposition ($5 million per year) as a UFA. The sticking point with that three year term for Anaheim is that they have two other big ticket players in Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry who will also be looking for contracts at the end of that season.

Eric Stephens of the OC Register reports that Ducks GM Bob Murray might attempt a different approach when it comes to signing the talented American power forward.

“We’re attempting to go at that in a different way in the next couple of days,” Murray said. “That has to fall in place.”

Ryan has scored 31 and 35 goals in his first two full NHL seasons. He made $765,000 in base salary last season in the final year of his entry-level deal and earned more than $900,000 in bonuses.

Murray acknowledged that he’ll look at something different in terms of years but was vague when asked specifically if that means making an offer for a shorter term.

“I don’t want to comment on contract negotiations,” he said. “We’re going to try something different and that’s all I’m going to say.”

While we discussed the far-out idea of the Ducks signing Ryan to one of those lifetime contracts before, the two sides might need to come up with a compromise. What if the team offered Ryan less money per year for two seasons or more money per year for four? Both scenarios would still give him a chance to earn big bucks on his next contract while the team could deal with Getzlaf and Perry’s deal in a different summer.

Though Ryan doesn’t have the name recognition or numbers as Kovalchuk just yet, he brings other skills – as well as two 30+ goal campaigns in his two NHL seasons – to the table. His contract status could have a big impact on the cloudy future of the Ducks franchise, so we’ll keep an eye on it for you.

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    Bobby Ryan's agent claims there are 'no discussions' with the Anaheim Ducks

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    Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BobbyRyan3.jpgDespite signing Andy Sutton yesterday, other events indicate that the Anaheim Ducks are being very tight with their wallets. That’s bad news for their negotiations with budding power forward in the making Bobby Ryan.

    Here’s the latest update from Eric Stephens from the Orange County Register.

    Bobby Ryan’s agent, Don Meehan, says there’s “no discussions” going on between the Ducks and his client. Looks like it’s still an impasse.

    In case you aren’t aware of the situation, the main disagreement is about the length of the possible contract extension rather than the amount of money. The Ducks would prefer a five-year deal because that would allow the team to avoid Ryan’s unrestricted free agent status for two years. Ryan wants a three-year deal so he can cash in on the UFA market immediately. That three-year deal would be especially toxic to Anaheim because their other power forwards Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf will become UFAs that summer, too.

    As the two sides continue their staring contest, I’m still not sure why a team won’t at least throw an offer sheet his way.

    While it will cost them money, a few draft picks and some awkwardness among other GMs, why wouldn’t the Kings think about sending Ryan an offer that would make things tough for Anaheim? If I were Kings GM Dean Lombardi, I’d send a tough-to-match three-year offer sheet to Bobby Ryan. If the Ducks match it, they’ll have to deal with that aforementioned bottleneck. If they didn’t match it, though, the Kings would steal a young, talented power forward from a division rival. A forward group including Ryan, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Ryan Smyth and a (hopefully healthy) Justin Williams would be very difficult to deal with.

    Sure, the Kings will have their own restricted free agents to deal with, but the NHL’s true contenders occasionally make big moves to make “the jump” from a solid playoff team to legitimate Stanley Cup threats.

    Either way, it seems like talks are at a standstill. We’ll keep you up to date as the contract negotiations drag on.

    Should the Anaheim Ducks, Bobby Ryan consider a 'lifetime' deal?


    Thumbnail image for BobbyRyan3.jpgThe Anaheim Ducks and forward Bobby Ryan are at a contract negotiation standstill right now. In a rare twist, it doesn’t appear that it’s a straight-up money problem. (I mean, sure, in the grand scheme of things it is … but work with me, here.)

    Instead, the biggest sticking point seems to be the length of the contract. Ryan’s camp would prefer a three-year deal so the American forward could maximize his unrestricted free agent years. Conversely, the Ducks can’t afford a three-year pact because their other two young power forwards (Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf) will be unrestricted free agents as well. Instead, the cash-strapped franchise would rather go with a five-year deal to soak up two of Ryan’s UFA years.

    My blog buddy Earl Sleek of Battle of California brings up an interesting alternative: what if the Ducks signed Ryan to one of those fancy lifetime contracts? Sleek admittedly says that the idea could be crazy, but hear him out first.

    I don’t know that the focus here should be on actual dollars or length — those are quite negotiable, but I picked fifteen years, which carries B-Ry to age 37, and an averaged cap hit of $5.2 M. The individual years go something like this (in millions):

    4, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 9, 9, 7, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1

    What does this accomplish? First off, for the Ducks, they know that they will have four years up front where the actual salary will be lower than the cap hit — this is quite attractive to lower or middle spending teams like Anaheim, where cap hits are largely irrelevant but real dollars reign supreme. Then begins a stretch of seven years where his cash cost will exceed his cap hit — this is much more attractive to rich cap-ceiling spending teams who are much more focused on average salary. I think this means that unless B-Ry proves himself to be incredibly valuable (or valueless), he likely gets traded after four years or so to a “Rich Dad” team. The structure of the deal enables the middle of B-Ry’s contract to look attractive to big spenders in the marketplace, and rather than the Ducks losing Ryan for next-to-nothing in the UFA process, they may be able to pry some assets for Ryan’s somewhat-cheap-cap-hit contract.

    For Bobby Ryan, I think there’s some charm to this deal also — he gets some future security, and largely gets what he may be looking for in unrestricted free agency: a nice pay raise and a ticket out of Anaheim. He’ll likely get to play his early 30s on a cap-spending team who likes his lowered cap hit — theoretically it should enhance his chances of winning the cup. And if his game falters in his late 30s, he can retire without missing out on too much of the overall contract value.

    Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for grossmanandryan.jpgWow, the last four years go down by a million each? That’s so … conservative compared to that slap-you-in-the-face Kovalchuk contract.

    All joking aside, it’s an intriguing concept. In fact, the biggest snag might be that Ryan may very well want to play through all the years of that hypothetical deal. It seems to me that the vast majority of the guys who sign those deals know full well that they’ll never honor the lowest dollar years of their enormous contracts.

    Chances are, the sides will find a compromise that doesn’t involve such a risky investment. (Maybe go for four years so each side gives up a little to make it work?) My guess is that Ryan will remain a Duck, although a sneaky team might want to send a three-year offer sheet to make Anaheim uncomfortable. Just saying.

    Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks contract talks hit a snag because of term, not dollar amounts


    ducksthreeforwards.jpgNow that the Ilya Kovalchuk saga is (more or less) complete, we can move on to some other contract negotiations. Take, for instance, the somewhat public troubles the Anaheim Ducks have undergone while trying to sign restricted free agent Bobby Ryan.

    Some more details regarding what, exactly, is slowing down the talks surfaced today. It turns out that the snag is actually more about the length of the deal, rather than the amount of the money. Amusingly named Orange County Register beat writer Randy Youngman has more details.

    The Ducks have offered him a five-year, $25 million deal, slightly less than $5.3 million average salaries in the contracts signed previously by linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. The money is fine, but Ryan apparently believes he’ll be worth more in the final years of that proposal so he woul prefer a shorter term deal.

    So why not compromise and offer Ryan three years for $15 million? Sounds like a simple solution, right? Not exactly. On a shorter term, the Ducks would offer Ryan less than $5 million a year because it would not buy out a year of his free agency. And the Ducks don’t want all of their young stars’ contracts to expire at the same time, because it would make it difficult – if not impossible – to re-sign all of them and remain under the salary cap.

    The Getzlaf and Perry contracts run through the 2012-13 NHL season, and a three-year Ryan contract would run out at the same time. So it’s safe to say the eventual Ryan deal will be for anything but three years.

    Wait, so the Ducks don’t want to sign him to a 17 year, $50 million deal or something? What are these “under a decade” contracts you speak of?

    Youngman points out that a four-year deal wouldn’t make much sense for Anaheim because that also wouldn’t buy out a year of Ryan’s unrestricted free agency. A three-year contract would be bad for the Ducks while a five-year one would hurt Ryan’s wallet. Therein lies the conundrum.

    Still, it sounds like this is more of a speed bump in their talks than anything the Ducks need to be too concerned about. If anything changes, though, we’ll let you know.

    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.