Losers of seven in a row and thirteen of their past fourteen, there is little doubt that the Anaheim Ducks are in a complete tailspin. Their current streak has left them with a 6-13-4 (16 Points) record and placed (southern) Orange County’s favorite hockey squad in 14th place in the Western Conference, a mere one point ahead of the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets.
Entering the season it was clear what the Ducks were: A team with a plethora of high-end talent at the top of their lineup, but also a team that lacked the depth necessary to compete with the true contenders in the Western Conference. Through the 23 games Anaheim has played in this season, that fact has been reiterated more times than Ducks’ fans can count. With the exception of Teemu Selanne, the Ducks’ second line of Saku Koivu (4-7-11) , Andrew Cogliano (5-4-9) and Brandon McMillan (0-3-3) has produced a dismally low total of nine goals and 14 assists in a combined 69 games of action.
A lack of production from the second and third lines is nothing new for Anaheim, but what’s ailed the Ducks in 2011 has been the abnormally poor play of the “R-P-G Line” of Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Through 23 games this season, the Ducks’ top line has only accounted for 21 goals, 32 assists and 53 points. To make matters worse, the three of them are a combined -29 on the season!
With no clear solution in sight, and GM Bob Murray handcuffed by strict budget constraints, the team does not have many options to right the ship. While many believe head coach Randy Carlyle is on the hot seat, it’s yet to be proven if ownership in the O.C. would allow for him to be fired, being that he just recently signed a multi-year contract extension.
Well, according to Sportsnet’s Daren Millard, who last night reported via Twitter that an NHL executive had told Nick Kypreos (Rogers Sportsnet) that GM Bob Murray is shopping Bobby Ryan. With it being reported last week that team captain Ryan Getzlaf was untouchable and defending Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry clearly off-limits, the notion of trading Ryan seems completely feasible. The 24-year-old Cherry Hill, NJ native has averaged 33 goals over the past three seasons and has registered eight playoff tallies in 17 career post-season games.
This leads me to the Boston Bruins, and the early-season struggles of 24-year-old Czech center David Krejci. Let’s go over a few of the pros and cons of a potential Krejci-Ryan blockbuster.
– With Krejci slated to become a restricted free agent at year’s end, it is unknown what the price tag will be for the Bruins to keep no. 46 in Black and Gold. Ryan, on the other hand is signed to a very team-friendly contract that pays him $5.1 MIL this season and for the next three years after.
– Moving Krejci would allow the Bruins to move Tyler Seguin back to his natural position of center. If Boston is to commit long term to Krejci, it would create a log-jam down the middle, with either he or Seguin being relegated to third line duty.
– A player like Bobby Ryan would not only give the Bruins the legitimate top-line scorer that they’ve been without since the departure of Phil Kessel, but it would also give them a second threat in the shootout to match up with Seguin.
– Perhaps the fear of disturbing the locker room chemistry of the defending Stanley Cup Champions is the biggest hurdle in a potential B’s–Ducks swap. Will Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli be willing to take that risk?
– As reported by the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont, it would take more than just David Krejci in order for the B’s to pry Ryan lose from the Ducks’ grasp. As Dupont points out, Boston might have to part with prized defense prospect Dougie Hamilton and a second round pick as well as David Krejci in return for Ryan.
– Despite his phenomenal point-per-game start to the season, it is unclear as to if the Bruins’ brass believes that Tyler Seguin is ready to take on a full-time role as a top-six pivot at the NHL level.
– If the B’s are to unload perhaps their the their two biggest trade assets (Krejci, Hamilton) in a deal for Ryan, it leaves them with an inability to make a deadline deal for a legitimate no. 2 defenseman, which is arguably their biggest need.
This of course is all merely speculation at this point, but with multiple reports indicating Ryan’s availability, why not have a little fun? If your Peter Chiarelli, would you deal Krejci, Hamilton and a pick for Bobby Ryan?
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Contributor to the New England Hockey Journal. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.