Anaheim Ducks, Bobby Ryan set to meet up and attempt to make a deal this week

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BobbyRyan3.jpgWhile the Ilya Kovalchuk fiasco could be settled sometime today (heaven help us if the NHL rejects the contract again), some of the major restricted free agent negotiations are still in limbo. Perhaps the biggest impact player in that RFA group is Anaheim Ducks power forward of the present and future Bobby Ryan.

The Ducks and Ryan have hit quite a few road bumps in the process, but it seems like both sides think that Ryan remaining in Anaheim is the ideal scenario. The Orange County Register reports that Ryan, his agent Don Meehan and the Ducks will come together to try to hash out a contract extension this week.

Don Meehan, one of Ryan’s Newport Sports Management agents, told the Register in an e-mail that there are plans to meet with Ducks management as the club’s reigning top goal scorer remains unsigned with training camp less than three weeks away.

Previous discussions have been fruitless until now with the Ducks trying to get their 23-year-old sniper signed to a long-term deal and Ryan hesitant to commit to anything more than three years.

As the OC Register points out, it seems like teams are getting a better sense of urgency when it comes to re-signing RFAs now that training camp is rapidly approaching. Some fairly big fish such as Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist landed new deals, but Ryan and Dallas Stars forward James Neal have an even better track record and even more cash-strapped teams to deal with.

Meeting up might not make Ryan any more willing to sign a longer contract and it might not alleviate the Ducks’ concerns about signing Ryan in the same summer as Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, but hopefully they can come to a reasonable compromise. We could find out as early as this week.

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    Bobby Ryan says he doesn't want the Ducks to trade him

    Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BobbyRyan3.jpgNow that Patric Hornqvist and Bryan Little are no longer restricted free agents, the spotlight focuses even more on the two biggest RFAs remaining (unless you really love Marc Staal): Bobby Ryan and James Neal. The Ryan-Anaheim Ducks negotiations have been especially intriguing because the ideal three-year length for Ryan would be lethal for his team. They’ve been at an impasse for quite some time, now, and that still seems to be the case.

    The (mostly) good news is that Ryan doesn’t want a trade and is pretty adamant about avoiding a holdout, too. The 23-year-old forward discussed the situation with the Orange County Register.

    “I don’t want a trade,” Ryan told the Register on Monday following a workout. “I’m not asking for a trade. Iwant to be here in Anaheim. This is where I want to be.

    “If it comes to a situation where there’s heads butting, then I guess it would be best. But I am not looking for a trade. I have no intentions of being traded. I love it here and want to remain a Duck.”

    [snip]

    “I don’t want people to think I’m holding out or I’m going to hold out,” he said. “That’s not the case. We’re just trying to find something that works for both sides right now.”

    Ryan says that he wishes the two sides could meet up and hash the whole thing out in one day, but “understands it is a process.” The two sides seem like they’ve simmered down quite a bit, at least publicly. I wonder if four years is the magic compromise number there, but obviously both sides want to get their way.

    (The story states that the Ducks will just matter an offer sheet, but why wouldn’t a nefarious team send a three-year deal his way even if it’s just to give Anaheim a headache? Come on, Los Angeles Kings, this is the perfect opportunity to give your in-state rivals a hard time.)

    While Ryan’s quotes seem pretty positive, he’s not saying a trade is out of the question altogether. This closing quote could give Ducks fans some pause.

    “I’ll figure something out before I get to a holdout [scenario],” he said. “But if NHL teams are starting camps, I’ll be on the ice somewhere. Hopefully here.”

    To paraphrase a wise, cartoon dog: “Ruh roh.”

    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.

    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?

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    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.