Yesterday, the NHL and the NHLPA announced that former Anaheim Ducks skater Bobby Ryan was going into the NHLPA’s assistance program to get some kind of unspecified help. From a fan’s perspective, it is a heartbreaking development for one of the greatest prospects to ever come and go from the Ducks.
Bobby Ryan will officially suspend his career for a while to tend to whatever is ailing him. Even though he hasn’t been part of the team in a while, Ryan was one of the most special prospects that came and went through Anaheim’s system. I’d like to shed some light back on his Anaheim Ducks career and exactly what he did for the franchise to pay tribute to not just a skater, but a man who played with passion and a love for the game and his fellow athletes.
The Draft and the First Season
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The 2005 NHL Draft will forever be one of the books as it introduced key pieces to many future championship teams. The top pick that year was Sidney Crosby, and although the Mighty Ducks just missed out on that kind of generational talent, they picked up someone who proved to make plays just as flashy. Bobby Ryan went second overall to the Ducks out of the OHL, he finally burst onto the scene in 2007-2008 for the title defense of that 2007 Stanley Cup championship.
In his first season, Ryan played twenty-three games with the team and managed to obtain his first five goals and his first five assists to bank ten points in just a quarter of a season. He was averaging eleven minutes a game that year and finished with 259 minutes on the ice in total. To say that he made a great impact as a rookie is a huge understatement. Although he didn’t get as much time as other rookie greats like Ryan Getzlaf and Paul Kariya, he made the most of the time he did have. And that was just the beginning.
Five More Great Years in Anaheim & Beyond
Bobby Ryan would go on to play for the Anaheim Ducks from 2007 to 2013, and he only missed less than sixty games once in those five seasons after his debut. In his second season, he came in second for the race for the Calder Trophy and scored his first career against the Los Angeles Kings of all teams. Ryan netted thirty-one goals, twenty-six assists, and fifty-seven points that season, and from then on up until his last season in Anaheim, he loved that thirty goal mark. He scored over thirty-goals for four seasons straight and added on to that by banking over twenty-five assists during those seasons as well.
In total, Ryan ended his career in Anaheim with 378 games played, 147 goals, 142 assists, and 551 points. Even better than the statistics were the friendships that he built with his teammates. It’s hard to forget those absolutely classic NHL Awards videos that he made facing off against Ryan Getzlaf. Despite being burned by Scott Niedermayer and Corey Perry, we all know that “Silver” should have taken the gold there. All in all, Bobby was just a treat on and off the ice. Whether it was in his wonderous philanthropy in Ottawa or the absolutely amazing goals he would score in Anaheim, Ryan would put a smile on the face of even the most critical fan. The fact that he has given so much to both Anaheim and Ottawa makes it even tougher to swallow that we won’t get to see him playing his heart out every game.
Wishing Bobby Well
There is not much to really say about what Bobby Ryan’s situation is. We as fans most likely will never find out what took him out of the league this early, but that’s not the focus here. What I really wanted to focus on in writing this is Ryan’s career here in Anaheim and all that he did for us. His statistics were absolutely beautiful for such a young career and the relationship that he had with Ryan Getzlaf was one of the most touching relationships in Ducks history, almost up there with Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne.
My personal favorite memory of his tenure here was that incredible goal against the Nashville Predators in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and I will never forget how much that goal opened my mind to how flashy hockey could be. I truly hope that I’m not alone in having a fond memory of Bobby. Ducks nation was very lucky to experience such a talented skater come and go, and for that, I will forever be grateful. I want to wish Bobby Ryan well on his time in the assistance program, I hope that he comes out of this healthy and happy. Whether or not we see him lace up his skates again, I know that I’m very grateful for all that he accomplished in his time in the NHL. Thank you, Ryan.
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