Fantasy Take: Bobby Ryan signs in Detroit

Michael Clifford

2020-10-09

Bobby Ryan is off to Motor City as the Detroit Red Wings signed him to a one-year deal worth $1M. Ryan entered the league's recovery program for alcohol abuse last year and returned to the Senators with a hat trick in his first home game. It's a night that'll be hard to forget.

 

What Detroit gets

We should keep in mind that Ryan is 33 years old right now and turns 34 in the middle of next season provided we start sometime in January. Independent of Ryan's journey in the NHL, there just aren't a lot of guys who are productive in their age-34 seasons. Only two forwards aged 34 or older over the last three years have managed 60-point seasons, only seven managed 50-point seasons (Justin Williams did it twice), and only four guys reached 25 goals. Even with Ryan focused on hockey and training, just his age alone means it's an uphill battle for fantasy relevance.

Beyond that, Ryan hasn't been a play-driver in a long, long time. He was great offensively in his early seasons with Anaheim, but hasn't had a big impact on offensive play-driving in about eight years, at least according to Evolving Hockey's RAPM model.

At this point, Ryan shouldn't be viewed as much more than a trigger-man on a depth line and on the power play. He can still shoot, but he needs someone to get him the puck in good spots. It's doubtful he can play 19-20 minutes a night with Dylan Larkin, so he'll be down the lineup with someone like Frans Nielsen, or an unproven Joe Veleno. Neither are proven playmakers and that's a problem for fantasy value.

Should Ryan find his game, it leaves Detroit options. Either a short-term extension later in the year or trade him at the deadline to get back some assets. If he can't, well, it's just a one-year deal.

It's a low-risk signing for the Wings, I just have concerns about Ryan's line mates. He can't drive the play and he's not a playmaker. He needs other guys to do those things, and if he's not on Detroit's top line (which I doubt), there may not be enough talent to get Ryan to 25 goals. If he can score 15-20, it should be seen as a good year offensively.