4 years later, Bobby Ryan trade paying off for Senators, Ducks
Forward has 5 playoff goals, 11 points as Ottawa leads conference final
The summer of 2013 was a franchise changer for the Ottawa Senators, but it would take four years and a surprise run to the Eastern Conference final for most hockey watchers to realize just how transformative it was.
That July the Senators acquired winger Bobby Ryan from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen and a first-round pick in the 2014 NHL draft which turned into forward Nick Ritchie.
Noesen is now a member of the New Jersey Devils, but Silfverberg and Ritchie have gone on to play major parts in Anaheim's run to the Western Conference final. Ryan has been central to Ottawa's run to the Eastern Conference final, especially with his dazzling overtime winners.
Arriving in Ottawa after four 30-goal seasons in Anaheim, Ryan signed a seven-year contract with the optimistic Senators. At more than $7 million US a year, Ryan's salary is currently the team's most generous, topping even captain Erik Karlsson's.
Goal production slowed
Unfortunately, that's when Ryan's goal production slowed, dropping to just 41 over his next two seasons in Canada's capital.
As this year's playoffs got underway, many hockey observers expected Ottawa to leave the Cherry Hill, N.J., native unprotected in the Las Vegas expansion draft.
That would have allowed the league's newest franchise to snap up Ryan — and his generous contract — saving Ottawa a significant chunk of change.
Given Ryan's recent playoff performance, the Senators may yet decide to hang on to No. 9 when those protected lists are due next month.
Ryan's overtime winner in Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins presented a rare glimpse at the 30-year-old forward's speed and power, and gave the Senators a 1-0 series lead.
That was Ryan's second overtime winner of the playoffs and his third game-winning goal. He now has five goals and 11 points in 13 playoff games.
Not to be outdone, two of the other players who were part of the Ryan trade have helped propel the Ducks to the Western Conference final.
Silfverberg is tied for the NHL's top playoff scorer with nine goals in 15 games, including two game winners and an overtime winner.
Meanwhile, Ritchie — selected ninth overall in 2014 — has three goals, including two game winners and an overtime winner. That includes the game-winning goal in Game 2 Sunday night against the Nashville Predators.
As the two conference finals unfold, that big trade in the summer of 2013 will continue to play a major part in the fortunes of both teams involved, four years later.