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2012 NHL Trade Match Maker: Dallas Stars And Bobby Ryan

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The Dallas Stars are going to be looking to the trade market to make improvements. This series of posts is going to focus on potential Stars targets to identify who, if any, of the big names are good fits in Dallas. If you have any specific requests send a Tweet my way @JoshL1220.

Various outlets have been reporting on the availability of Anaheim Ducks winger Bobby Ryan over the past 48 hours. His name came up at midseason as a possible trade candidate, and now it appears that the Ducks are at least willing to listen on their talented young winger which has many fans speculating about the possibility of their favorite team acquiring him.

Ryan's name has been a hot one around here since it initially came up near the deadline. If you're the Stars and you're looking for young talented controllable players then Ryan fits the criteria like a glove. What is Bobby Ryan, how would he fit in Dallas, and could the Stars even pull it off if they were seriously interested? After the jump we'll go into these questions and more to find out how plausible it is that Bobby Ryan could be a Dallas Star.

It Took Some Luck Just To Get Near You

Any team in the league would be lucky to puck up Bobby Ryan, and it would actually be difficult to overpay for him. Ryan is a soon to be 26 year old right handed right winger with four 30 goal seasons to his name in four full NHL seasons. In a lot of ways the upside in a trade for Ryan is similar to that of Rick Nash (which I chronicled here a few days ago). The main difference being that the prevailing opinion is that Nash is in line to produce more given better teammates while Ryan already played with solid linemates.

There isn't really an argument against that idea. Sure, that could happen. The Ducks have pretty clearly soured on Ryan too for whatever reason. One alarming thing that jumps out is Ryan's shot total. Ryan's even strength shots/60 dropped by a full shot from 2010/11. His shots/15 minutes have dropped for four straight years though the biggest drop off came last year. Regardless, Ryan has averaged 26 even strength goals a year for the last three years. Only six players in the league scored more in 2012.

Ryan's scoring issues have come on the powerplay the past two years. He has eight total powerplay goals the past two years after scoring 11 and 12 respectively in his first two full seasons. I can't speak to what has caused the drop off, but it's worth pointing out that he's been on the second unit for the Ducks for just about his entire career. He's finished fourth among Ducks forwards in PPTOI/G in each of his full seasons. If Rick Nash is going to get a ceiling bump for playing with better players then it's pretty reasonable to think of Ryan as a 35-40 goal scorer if he's simply put on a number one powerplay unit. Unless for some reason he just can't score on the powerplay, but I have a very hard time believing that to be the case.

I Like To Believe It Was Destiny

Whenever his name has been mentioned I have had a hard time believing he could be available. He's the type of young forward an organization should build around. The more I look into it though the less I would be surprised to see him dealt. He was jerked up and down the lineup this season. He saw his minutes cut by two a night from 2011. Most importantly, Bruce Boudreau severely cut his ice time down the stretch which implies a lack of confidence in Ryan's abilities.

After March 16th Ryan played less than 17 minutes a night in the final ten games. Of those he skated for less than 16 five times, and less than 14 once. Before the 16th Ryan skated for less than 17 minutes a night only ten times. It's a pretty obvious ice time cut. It took Boudreau about 50 games to cut his ice at the end of a season when the Ducks weren't going anywhere. If that isn't a vote of no confidence I don't know what is...

That isn't true. I do know what else would be. A few days ago it came out that the Ducks and Buffalo Sabres had a trade worked out which would have sent Jonas Hiller with Ryan to Buffalo for Ryan Miller right around the time that Milan Lucic bull rushed him. Hiller started slowly, but picked his play back up to his normally high levels as the season moved on. At worst, Hiller and Miller are equal. Hiller is probably better though. No matter how you slice it the difference between the two isn't Bobby Ryan.

Baseless Speculation

Were the Ducks undervaluing Hiller, Ryan, or both? It's an interesting question to consider. Assuming that deal is still out there (who knows if it ever was as constructed) the Stars would benefit immensely from sending Kari Lehtonen to the Ducks for the duo in a pure value play. It seems obvious that they're seeking NHL talent in return for Ryan at the least. The rumored return from Buffalo was NHL talent. The potential returns for Nash are centered around NHL talent, and it probably isn't a coincidence that every time we hear something about Nash we're sure to hear Ryan's name.

It's a long shot that the Stars could acquire Ryan. Would either team be willing to make a bold move involving numerous young impact pieces in the same division? That's questionable at best. The biggest hang up is what the Stars could give to make it worth the Ducks' while. If the aforementioned deal is possible the Stars should do it without thinking given that Hiller and Lehtonen aren't much different. If that isn't available the Stars most likely don't have the NHL-ready talent to entice the Ducks to move Ryan within the division.

Sorry to kill anyone's pre-draft buzz.