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The Detroit Red Wings Should Re-Sign Bobby Ryan

Bobby Ryan

Before the start of the 2021 season, Bobby Ryan signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings. Since then, Ryan’s had somewhat of a resurgence. He’s sixth in total points on the season, tied with Filip Zadina. In every interview, he’s spoken highly of the city of Detroit, the Red Wings team, and the staff. He’s been a key player in the development of rookies like Michael Rasmussen and Evgeny Svechnikov. With Ryan’s injury sidelining him for the season, it appears the writing is on the wall for the former Ottawa Senator.

But what if — and hear me out on this one — the Red Wings keep Bobby Ryan? He’s been a perfect team culture fit in Detroit. The players in the locker room love him. He’s been a great morale booster during brutal losses. If we’re speaking realistically, the team is still in a rebuild. Until they’re able to consistently ice top talent, there will always be room for guys like Bobby Ryan. Keeping him on the roster would do more good than harm in the long run.

Why Bobby Ryan Should Stay with the Detroit Red Wings

Ryan, the former Bill Masterton Trophy winner, embodies exactly what the Red Wings represent: perseverance. He understands the highs and lows of both hockey and life and would make for a wonderful addition to any roster. While he won’t leap off the stat sheet, his intangibles are what separate him from the pack. He’s a positive light in an otherwise forgettable season. His glass-half-full attitude is imperative for a team that suffers too many blowout losses. That perspective will be well-needed in the next year or two as the rebuild continues to evolve.

A Realistic Look at Bobby Ryan’s Value

At 34 years of age, it’s unfair to assume he’s going to kick it into a new gear. This is likely a fact well-known throughout the NHL. Were it not for his season-ending injury, he would have likely gone for a third-round pick at best. It’s a shame, too — Ryan was considered a top trade asset for the Red Wings. If he re-signs in Detroit, there’s always a chance he can be traded the next year.

But would trading Ryan when he turns 35 be worth it? Unless Steve Yzerman can pull off some wizardry (and it wouldn’t be the first time), the returns would be middling at best. At that point, Yzerman will need to consider where his value lies. Would the pick be worth the risk of losing Ryan for good, or is it better if he stays to help the roster develop?

A Third Route for Bobby Ryan

In an article with The Athletic, Ryan implied heavily that he would be open to an “encore” with the Red Wings. This opens the potential for the Red Wings to re-sign him again during the offseason when his contract expires. A win-win for Yzerman is entirely possible here. He can lock up Ryan for another year while earning assets for him next season if he keeps his value up. This is a chance for a Thomas Vanek 2.0 situation for the Red Wings. It’s a route that Yzerman will almost certainly take if he can be sure Ryan will stick around.

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