The Edmonton Oilers have bolstered their forward group by signing centreman Derek Ryan. The contract is a two-year deal, costing $1.25 million per year AAV. Frank Seravalli was the first to break the news, late Wednesday afternoon.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 28, 2021
Derek Ryan Signs with the Edmonton Oilers
Ryan, a six-year veteran of the NHL, has spent the last three seasons with Edmonton’s neighbour to the south, the Calgary Flames. With the Flames, Ryan played a bottom-six role with time spent on the penalty kill.
Ryan was a late bloomer who was never drafted into the NHL. He spent fours seasons playing for the University of Alberta (located in Edmonton), before spending another four years in Europe. He eventually found his way into the Carolina Hurricanes system, breaking in as a regular on their roster in 2016/17.
Ryan has accumulated 53 goals and 149 points throughout his 345 game career. He has a career-high of 38 points, accomplished in 2017/18 and 2018/19, but only put up two goals and 11 points this season. Ryan averaged just under 12 minutes of ice time per game, a number that will almost certainly increase in Edmonton.
What This Means Going Forward
The Oilers were actively on the hunt for another centre to add to their depth, and Ryan will fulfill that need. Despite having three natural centres already on the roster, the Oilers have preferred to play Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the left wing in recent years. This adjustment has left the Oiler surprisingly shallow at centre behind their two megastars.
Last season’s free-agent addition, Kyle Turris, did not live up to expectations and could very well be challenged to even crack the roster next year. The Oilers also lost Jujhar Khaira through free agency after he signed with the Chicago Blackhawks. The addition of Ryan will support the loss of Khaira, while providing rookie centreman Ryan McLeod with some shelter and insulation as he continues to adjust to the big leagues in a bottom six role.
Ryan’s history of positive possession metrics will be a welcome addition to the Oilers, who have struggled mightily in previous years with McDavid and Draisaitl off the ice.
VANCOUVER, BC – FEBRUARY 08: Derek Ryan #10 of the Calgary Flames celebrates after scoring a goal in NHL action against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on February 8, 2020 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)