This is a feel good story. These past few weeks have been quite the roller-coaster ride for veteran Bobby Ryan. At the beginning of the month of September, Ryan was named the 2019-20 recipient of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy on Monday after publicly sharing his battle with alcohol issues. The award is given out annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.
Then, he was bought out by the Ottawa Senators and is now a free agent, looking for a new team. Finally on Friday, moments after the opening of the UFA market, he found one.
The Detroit Red Wings have signed Ryan to a one-year, $1 million contract. Ryan was in touch with GM Steve Yzerman, who convinced him to come to Hockey Town.
The 33-year-old Ryan had struggled at the start of the season and then entered the NHL/NHL Players’ Assistance program on Nov. 20 to get help for alcohol addiction. He returned to the ice Feb. 25 against the Nashville Predators, then scored three times in a 5-2 win over the visiting Vancouver Canucks in his second game back two nights later.
Ryan has played 833 career regular season games since being drafted No. 2 by the Anaheim Ducks in 2005. He has 254 goals and 555 points in 13 NHL seasons split between Anaheim and Ottawa. Ryan has two more years on his deal paying him $7.5 million per season in real cash at a $7.25-million cap hit. The buyout saved the Senators $3.67 million in each of the next two campaigns, but will also add a cap charge of $1.83 million in each of the following two years.
We cannot wait to see his leadership in the Red Wings’ dressing room and the impact he has on their young players.
The Red Wings have also added Jon Merrill to their roster, signing the free agent to a one-year, $925,000 contract.