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Ryan not considering retiring, hopes to remain with Red Wings

34-year-old forward who can become free agent would 'love to be here'

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

Bobby Ryan said he wants to return for his 15th NHL season and hopes to remain with the Detroit Red Wings.

The 34-year-old forward had surgery three weeks ago for a deteriorated tendon in his right triceps that tore off the bone. 

"The thing I do know right now is, I want to play hockey next year," Ryan said Wednesday. "That's been my immediate focus, trying to get ready to do that. You hope it's Detroit. I haven't had those conversations yet. I'll certainly be open to it. If I'm part of the plans, I'd love to be here."

Ryan can become an unrestricted free agent after the season and said the thought of retiring didn't cross his mind as much as he first thought. Since the surgery, he has been working with trainers in Detroit to plan for next season before returning to his home in Idaho on Monday.

"I think they said the six-week mark is when I can start to push a little bit and find out the true extent of how long it's going to be," Ryan said. "There was a couple of days when it was really hard after knowing I was going to get surgery and how long it was going to be that I didn't know if I had it in me. They were very waning moments and I'm glad they're past, because I'm just looking forward now again."

Ryan scored 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 33 games for the Red Wings (18-27-9), who are seventh in the eight-team Discover Central Division and have been eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention. They end the regular season at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said Ryan was an immediate fit and the type of veteran important to a rebuilding team. Ryan signed a one-year contract with Detroit on Oct. 9, 2020, after he was bought out by the Ottawa Senators on Sept. 26. 

"When you meet him, you respect him even more because of the person he is," Blashill said. "He's a really, really good person. He's a genuine person. He cares about the people he's around. He cares about helping other people. He cares about our hockey team growing."

The No. 2 pick by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2005 NHL Draft, Ryan has scored 569 points (261 goals, 308 assists) in 866 NHL games for the Ducks, Senators and Red Wings. He has scored 32 points (18 goals, 14 assists) in 51 playoff games.

"What those guys have is they have perspective of a lot of different experiences and when you're young, you just don't have those perspective," Blashill said. "Somebody like Bobby, who is that high of a pick, who's been at the top in terms of a go-to offensive top line guy, who's also been a guy who's sat out of the lineup, he can help guys at different stages in their careers. Those are critical pieces to the growth of young players."

Ryan won the Masterton Trophy last season as the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. He took a leave of absence from the Senators citing alcohol abuse before later returning.

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