Paul Holmgren

Columnist: Flyers need defensemen, not Bobby Ryan

32 Comments’s Tim Panaccio thinks all the Bobby Ryan talk is a waste of time. If GM Paul Holmgren really wants to improve his team, he should go out and get a defenseman, not another high-scoring forward.

They don’t need 35 more goals as much as they need 35 less on the back end. Ryan (plus-1 this season) is not on par with other two-way defensive-conscious forwards such as Mike Richards, Claude Giroux or Sean Couturier. He won’t save them 35 goals.

Yeah, they’re centers and Ryan is not, but the point is: the Flyers still have a gaping hole on the blue line and Ryan isn’t going to fill it.

And if the cost of obtaining Ryan is to further weaken the blue line – Ducks GM Bob Murray reportedly wants defensive help – then such a trade makes even less sense.

Not that Holmgren hasn’t tried to address his blue line. He pushed hard to get Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, only to fall short in each attempt.

Writes Panaccio: “That Holmgren tried so hard to get the best two defensemen out there is an acknowledgement by management that Chris Pronger will never play again in Philadelphia.”

Holmgren would vehemently disagree there (at least publicly.) And he did acquire Luke Schenn in a trade with Toronto for James van Riemsdyk.

Besides, even if Holmgren does still want to add another defenseman, his options are limited. The free-agent pool is dry, save for the likes of Michal Rozsival, Pavel Kubina, Scott Hannan, Jaroslav Spacek and Carlo Colaiacovo.

Jay Bouwmeester could possibly be pried out of Calgary, but not for free.

Related: Pronger’s health represents other big question for Flyers’ D

Haggerty: Why a David Krejci-Bobby Ryan trade might work

Buffalo Sabres v Boston Bruins

It’s no secret that big, talented power forwards are beloved in Boston. Milan Lucic is already well-liked among Bruins fans even if he might not ever live up to Cam Neely’s lofty legacy. While he acknowledges that it’s just a rumor,’s Joe Haggerty believes that a David Krejci + low first-round pick package could very well nab Anaheim Ducks power forward Bobby Ryan.

Haggerty also argues that the deal could very well be worth it for Boston.

But a trade with the Anaheim Ducks for a 6-foot-2, 218-pound right wing that’s put up 136 goals and 259 points in 334 career games is the one deal that conservative GM Peter Chiarelli might not be able to say “no thanks” to. If the trade does indeed include Krejci and a first rounder expected to be in the 25-30 range to an Anaheim club looking to shore up their center depth between Ryan Getzlaf and Saku Koivu, then the pieces appear to be in place for both sides.

One former teammate of Ryan’s said he was “a good kid” during his early years in Anaheim as a 20-year-old rookie, and his personality wouldn’t be a problem within the Bruins dressing room.

Instead it seems to be more about salary and cap hit with the Ducks looking to create a more balanced front line with depth and strength down the middle of the ice.

Meanwhile the Bruins covet size, strength and skill on the wing, and Ryan represents all three of those things. But Ryan has also spoken openly about his desire to severe ties with the Ducks after they’ve tossed his name on the trade block multiple times, and now the pressure is on Anaheim to deal an obviously unhappy player before training camp opens in September.

Honestly, it would be a solid coup if the Ducks could land a strong (and underrated) player like Krejci plus a decent draft pick for Ryan.

As Haggerty points out, the two players have a lot in common in the comparable amount of points they’ve put up in their careers, their age and even their affordable cap hits. It’s true that Ryan has superior size and is a more prolific goal-scorer – two of the most desired assets in the NHL – but the Ducks are also lacking some leverage because everyone knows that Ryan wants out. Getting a comparable (if more subtle) scoring center and an asset for that talented winger would be quite the strong work considering the situation.

(One might even compare it to the Atlanta Thrashers wrangling Marian Hossa and Greg de Vries for Dany Heatley despite being in an even more awkward conundrum many moons ago.)

Still, the Bruins would be dealing from an area of strength (center depth) to add the kind of winger who would probably fit in well in Beantown. Giving up a nice package might not matter much if Ryan thrives like many imagine he could – especially if Nathan Horton’s concussion issues persist.


How do you feel about the idea, though? Would Boston give up too much in the scenario? Is Krejci actually better than Ryan, anyway? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Report: Flyers, Penguins, Red Wings, Senators among teams after Bobby Ryan

Bobby Ryan #9 of the Anaheim Ducks awaits a face off during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on March 31, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Ducks 4-0.
(March 30, 2012 - Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

Forget Rick Nash – Bobby Ryan is younger, cheaper, and has scored a few more goals than him over the last three years.

It’s not hard to see why some of the losers of the Zach Parise sweepstakes and a number of teams that passed on the former Devils captain altogether would express interest in Ryan’s services.

According to the Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun’s sources, the teams that will go after Bobby Ryan include the Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Ottawa Senators, and Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Red Wings and Flyers have been cited as potential destinations for Rick Nash at one point or another, but Ryan might make more sense for both squads. For the Red Wings, it would probably be easier to pry Ryan away from the Anaheim Ducks than it would be to convince the Columbus Blue Jackets to trade Nash to a division rival. The Flyers would appreciate Ryan’s lesser cap hit given how close they are to the ceiling.

The Penguins might not have as great a preference between Ryan or Nash as either one would be more than capable of excelling alongside Sidney Crosby. For that matter, either one would look good as a potential long-time linemate for Steven Stamkos in Tampa Bay, but it’s not clear if the Lightning have any interest in pursuing Nash as well.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have the trade chips to make this happen and Brian Burke has pulled off some deals with his former squad in the past, so they can’t be entirely dismissed.

That being said, the Ottawa Senators might actually emerge as the frontrunners for Ryan’s services, given that they apparently came the closest to acquiring Nash. The main thing that stood in the way of Ottawa getting Nash was the fact that he has a no-movement clause and didn’t include the Senators on his list of preferred teams.