Take a quick look at the NHL’s goal leaderboard right now and you will see a surprising name at the top of the list.
That name: Detroit Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan.
He scored his fourth goal of the season on Tuesday night in the Red Wings’ 3-2 overtime win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, making him the first player in franchise history to score at least one goal in his first three games with the team.
Here is a look at his goal from Tuesday.
It is not just that random piece of trivia or a random early season hot streak that makes all of this so noteworthy.
Yeah, it is early in the season. Only three games for Ryan to be exact. And he is not going to keep scoring on 57 percent of his shots (four goals on seven shots) and is eventually going to cool off. But his success right now is still an incredible and inspiring story in the early part of the NHL season when you consider where he was just a little over one year ago. It was then that Ryan had entered the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program to help with an alcohol addiction.
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The Senators opted to buy out the remainder of his contract as part of their rebuild, making him an unrestricted free agent where he signed a one-year deal with the Red Wings. It looked like a really solid deal for both sides at the time, and the early returns are only further proving that.
Ryan gets an opportunity to show he can still play and contribute something and maybe land on a contender at the trade deadline The Red Wings get a veteran player that can maybe help the team dig itself out of the cellar, show some progress, and then potentially add something in return for him.
It remains to be seen what the Red Wings are actually capable of doing this season, but through the first four games they at least look like a far more competitive team than they did a year ago.