Ryan says signing with Flyers as free agent is 'very high on my list'
Forward had contract bought out by Senators, unsure of Philadelphia's interestNHL.com @NHLdotcom
Bobby Ryan said the Philadelphia Flyers would be near the top of his list of teams to sign a contract with if they offered one to him when the NHL free agency market opens Oct. 9.
"I don't know if that's something they look at and want to do, I'll let them decide, and then I'll make my decision after that," the forward told NBC Sports Philadelphia on Tuesday. "It would be very, very high on my list and hard to top, getting to spend some time with my dad at home and things like that. There are a lot of elements to making that very attracting, but for me first I have to see if they're in play for me."
Ryan, a native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, who grew up a Flyers fan, had the final two seasons of his seven-year contract bought out by the Ottawa Senators on Sept. 26. He is an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his NHL career and can sign when free agency opens Oct. 9.
"Really, the opportunity [to sign with the Flyers] has never presented itself," Ryan said. "I'm not sure if it will this time around, but if the Flyers were to make an offer or extend a camp invite, they'd move high on my list because of all the connections. For me, it's one step at a time, just wait to see who makes an offer and go from there."
The 33-year-old signed a $50.75 million contract ($7.25 million average annual value) with the Senators on Oct. 2, 2014. He scored eight points (five goals, three assists) in 24 games this season, taking an extended leave of absence in November to enter the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program, citing issues with alcohol abuse.
Ryan, who returned at the Nashville Predators on Feb. 25 and two days later scored a hat trick in his first game back in Ottawa, a 5-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks, won the Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication to hockey.
"For me, it's about finishing correctly; I've got a lot of the other things in my life settled now and continuing to try to get better with my treatments," he said. "I look at this as the chance to write the final few chapters of my career and do it correctly, and all that cliche stuff, but it's never rang more true for me because of all the stuff I've been through in the last year."
Ryan was selected by the Anaheim Ducks with the No. 2 pick in the 2005 NHL Draft when Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher was an assistant GM with Anaheim.
"I've known him for a long time. He's a tremendous person," Fletcher said Tuesday. "He's been a very good hockey player in this league. I think his recent battles have been well-documented, and clearly he's worked hard to get himself to a better place. … It's hard to say right now what will transpire here over the next week. Again, my expectations are there will be lots of dialogue [with free agents] in the next week or two."
Ryan has scored 555 points (254 goals, 301 assists) in 833 regular-season NHL games and 32 points (18 goals, 14 assists) in 51 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
After scoring at least 30 goals and 57 points in four straight seasons with the Ducks from 2008-12, he never scored more than 23 goals or 56 points in seven seasons with the Senators.
"I've never had this opportunity, you know, to hopefully field offers, because when you're a buyout person, you don't know what's going to come through for you," he said. "But just the chance to field some offers and take a look around, and for once control where you're going to play the next few years."