Anyone who had designs of renting Bobby Ryan to aid a deep playoff run next spring will need to start looking elsewhere, as the Senators announced this morning that Ryan will be spending the better part of the next decade in Ottawa, and being paid handsomely ($7.25 million per season) to do it.
Ryan was easily the most dynamic and attractive possible free agent coming up in the 2015 class. Not only that, he seemed the most likely (aside from 42-year old Jaromir Jagr) to play for a team that will miss the playoffs. Jason Spezza is an attractive upcoming free agent as well, but it seems implausible that Dallas will miss out on the playoffs considering the firepower they’ve added. It also seems a long shot that the team would not extend Spezza at some point this season. Indeed, it sounds like it will happen as soon as Spezza heads to the local Brookstone to sample a Swedish massage chair. I think I’m reading that right.
So here’s the list of remaining free agents for the 2015 class. Not many names jump out to me as potential game-breakers at the deadline. I’ve already mentioned Jagr. The rest of the names are either:
c) play for a contender and seem unlikely to be traded
d) all of the above
Barring a classic hockey trade for a player who isn’t a straight rental (more on this possibility in the next paragraph) it is possible that the most likely offensive candidates to be moved from that list are Buffalo’s Drew Stafford and Chris Stewart. Neither player jumps off the page as someone who could turn a close-call into a title. Stafford last scored 50 points in 2011-12, and Steward hasn’t passed 36 since the previous season while bouncing through three teams.
Keep in mind also, given the supposed depth of the 2015 draft, this could shape up to be a quiet, or at least blockbuster-free deadline. It would take a bold GM to ship out a first round pick next March, especially for the players listed above. That same tight-fisted attitude would certainly affect trades for players on longer term deals. Think of what the Wild parted with for Jason Pominville two seasons ago, or the Rangers for Martin St. Louis last year. Should that expended first round pick turn out to be the star that the 2015 draft class seems to hold, even later in the first round, such are the things that get GM’s fired.
In short, if someone were to take that type of gamble at the deadline, it would have probably been for someone like Ryan, a proven scorer who will be 28 at season’s end, and that’s no longer an option.
Wither the guys at the TSN trade desk this upcoming March. Maybe they can bring Lester McLean back for a full set: