was the second overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft this summer and selected by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
“Bobby Ryan is a power forward, a natural goal scorer and also uses his other forwards effectively,” said Bryan Burke, Executive Vice-President and General Manager of the Mighty Ducks. “He’ll turn his back on the defensive coverage, turn and make a play and find an open person, which is an unusual skill for a winger at age eighteen.”
Last season, Ryan finished second in scoring for the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey league. He finished with 37 goals and 52 assists for 89 points. In 62 games, Ryan was +30 in the plus-minus rating and accumulated 51 penalty minutes.
“I think my biggest improvement over the last year was my skating and my defensive play,” says Ryan, who spent the last two seasons with Owen Sound. “Those are two areas that I identified right off the bat that were necessities to improve to play at the next level.”
At the moment, Ryan finds himself at the World Junior Camp, but he hasn’t forgotten the thrill of being selected so high in the NHL Draft.
“To be honest, the first couple of minutes were shocking,” added Ryan. “You try not to trip over yourself while going up to the stage. Knowing the night before made it much easier. I went in there knowing where I was headed, so it made me much more comfortable.”
During the interview process, a young prospect like Ryan meets a lot of hockey people.
“You’re going from room to room, hotel to hotel, but it’s a lot of fun,” says Ryan. “You get to interact with the teams and what their systems are like. You find out what they are looking for. You field different questions. Why is it you want us to draft you? Why do you feel that you are better than this player? They really try and mix it up on you.”
“I’m excited to get back, close to home,” added Ryan. “I’ve always loved California from the day I arrived there. I know the lifestyle there, so I think it’s going to be a good fit there. And the Mighty Ducks will bring in new fans to the game with a guy like Brian Burke there.”
Ryan lived in El Segundo for four years (1999-2003) and played amateur hockey for the junior Kings.
Ryan’s selection at number two overall is the highest the Mighty Ducks had drafted since 1994 (Oleg Tverdovsky, also 2nd overall). The Camden, New Jersey native describes his style of hockey as one of a power forward and a player who likes to create space.
“I like to handle the puck and look for guys in the slot,” said Ryan, who finished tied for fifth in goals, sixth in points and tied for fourth in shorthanded goals in the OHL last season. “I would say a bit of a power forward mixed in with a playmaker.”
For Ryan, his goals and aspirations for the coming season are simple.
“I’d love to say that I’m ready to play this year in the NHL,” says Ryan. “If I get a good shot at camp, I think I could do some good things. And hopefully impress some of the people I need to impress.”
Brian Burke says you will see a shift in how 18 year-olds come into our league now with the new CBA.
“An 18 year old in the old days didn’t get any particular free agency rights in an accelerated manner,” said Burke. “Now, he does. If Bobby Ryan made our team as an 18 year old, at age 25, he’d be eligible to go anywhere else in the NHL. So, even a year ago, if you could find any reason to keep an 18 year old on your team, you would keep him. Now, you are not going to keep a guy unless he can make a significant contribution to your team.”
“My guess is that Bobby is going to go back to Owen Sound,” mentioned Burke.
“Bobby has to work on getting stronger, which he does religiously, anyway. We’d like to see him at 220 pounds by the end of the year. And the rest of his game just has to develop with maturity.”