The Ottawa Senators have signed forward Bobby Ryan to a seven-year contract extension with an AAV of $7.25 million. Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and Ryan had this to say at this morning's press conference...
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk:
Today I'm extremely pleased to announce we have signed Bobby Ryan to a seven-year contract extension. Since acquiring Bobby in July of last year we have had the opportunity to see first-hand the type of player he is on the ice, as well as his leadership and professionalism off the ice. He is truly the type of player we want to build our team around. These contracts are never easy to negotiate, but it's fair to say these parties worked extremely hard and well and very co-operatively to get this deal done. In particular I want to thank Bryan Murray, Pierre Dorion and a number of folks who are here today from Newport — Don Meehan, Pat Morris, Craig Oster and Mark Guy — thank you gentlemen for all of your efforts. Bobby, on behalf of the Ottawa Senators, I want to thank you for making a long-term commitment to our organization and to our fans. We're delighted to have you an Ottawa Senator for the next eight years.
I'd like to start quickly by saying how thrilled we are to make a long-term commitment, not only to the team but to the city of Ottawa. It was July 5 last year when we were traded here and immediately embraced by the city. We felt that we had found the place where we could build a family, start a family, call home and everything we have experienced here in the last year has hinted at nothing other than that. We came to this decision, it was fairly easy. I know it was a little longer of a process than everybody would have liked but speaking from my point of view it was almost a no-brainer for us. It was just a little bit longer of a process for the fans, the city and the media to take but we're very happy that we were able to get it done. I'd like to thank Mr. Melnyk for committing a lot of money and a lot of years to myself and the future of this team. I promise you we'll give it everything night in and night out to uphold our end of the contract. I'd like to thank Mr. Murray, Pierre Dorion and the rest of the Senators staff for believing in me a year ago to bring me here and believing in me again today to tie our futures together for the next seven years. It has been my pleasure to be here for the one that we have but we are very excited to build a long-term future here. I'd like to thank my agents who were able to come in — Mark, Don and Craig — thank you guys for the summer we've had for one, but the years of hard work and the years of commitment we've had to get to this point. Thank you very much for all that you guys have done.
Bobby also had this to say about today's announcement and his future in Ottawa...
On the genesis of the signing and when he was sure he wanted to be a Senator long term:
I don't think we ever really strayed from that feeling towards the organization but yesterday with meetings I came out from one and immediately went into another and they told me the deal was done and on the table and to call my agent and all that kind of stuff. The tell-tale sign for me was when they told me the papers were ready for me to sign, I didn't hesitate. That was my omen.
On the Ottawa as a place to live long-term:
The people have been great. Everybody that has approached us and talked to us has been welcoming and embracing — whatever words you want to use they all work. The biggest thing for us was getting ready to start a family and being comfortable where we were. Last year was an adjustment. We had to learn how to go grocery shopping at different times and pick your spots where you have dinner and whatnot but they were all good adjustments, nothing where you have to drastically change your lifestyle. It wasn't a hard selling point.
On Karlsson's captaincy and being a franchise cornerstone going forward:
I'm really excited for him, he has grown a lot over the last year personally and professionally and this is a chance for him to do it again and become a catalyst. He has already been a catalyst on the ice, but a catalyst in the room and a catalyst that guys want to follow. Obviously they feel he's ready to do it as much as I do because they rewarded him with it. A guy like that, when he speaks you listen and he's got the ear of everybody in the room and you hope you can just continue to watch him grow.