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Ryan's Hope

Friday, 01.4.2008 / 5:45 PM PT / Features
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Ryan\'s Hope
Ryan was taken No. 2 overall by the Ducks in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

By Matt Vevoda

From the moment his name was called as the second overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, right wing Bobby Ryan has had immense expectations to live up to.

Along with being the highest draft pick in Ducks history, Ryan was Brian Burke’s first selection as Anaheim’s Executive Vice President and General Manager. One pick prior to Ryan’s selection, Pittsburgh drafted Sidney Crosby, who was already being dubbed “The Next One” and has since won the Hart Trophy as the NHL MVP during the 2006-07 season.

Bobby Ryan Highlights

“Oh yeah, there are expectations,” Ryan said. “I’m sure there always will be. You hear what people say and what people think.”

The first chance for Ryan to make his mark in the NHL came and went quickly to start this season, as the 20 year-old lasted only four games with the Ducks before getting sent down to the team’s minor league affiliate in Portland.

Ryan's first career goal came in the season-opener against the Kings in London.

In his brief debut Ryan showed glimpses of his scoring prowess and what his future may hold (netting a goal in his first career game, a 4-1 season-opening loss to the Kings in London). But for the most part the Cherry Hill, N.J.-native looked overwhelmed by the pace of the NHL game.

“You’re not really in a comfortable situation,” Ryan said in looking back. “You’re trying to learn something new every day. You’re really just trying to find a comfort level, but it’s tough to do.”

While with Portland, Ryan reeled off 24 points in 25 contests, but the most important thing for the rookie was the development of his composure. That would lead to his next call-up to the Ducks on Dec. 15, and a noticeable improvement in his game that has kept him in Anaheim for the time being.

“Spending time down there in the American Hockey League, I was able to get into a routine and really find my game,” Ryan said. “It’s translated well this time around.”

Ryan's chemistry with Weight (right) on the second line has been a key for the Ducks.

Most importantly, the progress has been noticed by the guy who fills out the lineup each night, head coach Randy Carlyle.

“I just think there’s more of a comfort zone with the pace of the game,” Carlyle said. “When he was first here, he was struggling to keep up. I don’t know if that’s completely been eliminated, but he seems more comfortable with it.”

Added fellow winger Chris Kuntz: “The minors helped him out. He came back and has played with more of an edge. It’s something that’s helping us win.”

Ryan first game back with the Ducks happened to be the same game (Dec. 16 vs. San Jose) Scott Niedermayer also returned and Doug Weight made his debut. Since the trio has been in the Ducks’ lineup, the team has gone 6-2-1.

Tinkering with the lineups all season in trying to establish a second scoring line to go along with the established Getlzaf-Kunitz-Perry combination, Carlyle tried Ryan and the 36-year-old Weight together in hopes of a solution. The decision paid off immediately, as Weight assisted on Ryan’s second goal of the season, which would be the Ducks’ only tally in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Sharks on Dec. 16.

In a total of eight games together on the Ducks’ second line, chemistry between Ryan and Weight has been apparent. The tandem has combined for seven points (Ryan four points, Weight three) in that time.

“Oh yeah, there are expectations,” Ryan says. “I’m sure there always will be."

“I feel like he compliments me very well,” Weight said. He’s got great ability to carry the puck, get the puck back and he’s finding open spots.”

Says Ryan: “Dougie loves to pass out in front and I don’t mind standing there all night. For me to find holes and for him to have someone to look for, it’s something that’s been good for both of us.”

Yet Ryan knows his game must continue to grow to fulfill those enormous expectations. “I’m in a survival state,” Ryan said. “For me, every single day is my chance to earn my spot to stick. So far, I think I’ve done a pretty good job. There are a couple of things that I have to continue to work on, but I will do so accordingly. That’s for sure.”




1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56


R. Getzlaf 77 25 45 15 70
C. Perry 67 33 22 13 55
R. Kesler 81 20 27 -5 47
J. Silfverberg 81 13 26 15 39
S. Vatanen 67 12 25 5 37
P. Maroon 71 9 25 -5 34
C. Fowler 80 7 27 4 34
H. Lindholm 78 7 27 25 34
M. Beleskey 65 22 10 13 32
R. Rakell 71 9 22 6 31
F. Andersen 35 12 5 .914 2.38
J. Gibson 13 8 0 .914 2.60

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