Bobby Ryan no longer has to deal with swirling trade rumors. The dynamic forward has a new home where he can focus on what matters most to fantasy owners: returning to form as an elite offensive player.
The four-time 30-goal scorer landed with the Ottawa Senators in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on Friday. The move allows the 26-year-old to turn the page on his time with the Ducks, which was mired by positional changes and line shuffling.
The deal injects a playmaker entering his prime into the Ottawa lineup following the departure of veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson, who signed a contract with the Detroit Red Wings earlier Friday. Ryan, who had 30 points, 101 shots on goal and 80 hits in 46 games in 2012-13 for the Ducks, will be a go-to guy in all situations on the wing for the Senators, a team with a wealth of offensive firepower.
Fantasy owners are well aware of Ryan's goal-scoring ability during the good times with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in Anaheim, so the chance he could be operating alongside Jason Spezza on the Senators top line and with defenseman Erik Karlsson on the power-play is a breath of fresh air.
Ryan saw more than two-and-a-half minutes per game on the power play during his first three NHL seasons, but his ice time in those situations has dwindled in recent years. After seeing 1:57 per game with the man-advantage last season, owners can expect him to be featured more often in Ottawa so he can get his power-play production (6 PPP in 2012-13) back to where it was when he posted back-to-back 20-plus PPP seasons in 2008-09 (23) and 2009-10 (21).
Spezza, who has centered the club's first line for years, has four 50-plus assist, 80-point seasons in his 10-year NHL career. Two seasons ago, Karlsson posted the most points by a defenseman (78) since Nicklas Lidstrom had 80 for the Detroit Red Wings in 2005-06.
Spezza and Karlsson are unselfish, pass-first players who can make life easier for Ryan in transition and in offensive-zone situations. They will have the entire summer to heal after injury-ravaged seasons in 2012-13 and should be ready to build chemistry with Ryan upon the start of training camp.
Ryan heading to Ottawa means fantasy owners should not hesitate to take him in the early rounds of drafts this fall, as the move puts him back among the top-50 overall assets entering 2013-14.