Last night, Bobby Ryan played in his first NHL game since entering the NHL/NHLPA assistance program on November 20th. It couldn’t have gone any better, as Ryan scored a hat-trick, en route to a 5-2 Ottawa win over the Vancouver Canucks.
We have always enjoyed watching Bobby Ryan play hockey, and after learning about all the adversity and off-ice issues regarding his family situation and recent abuse issues, it really makes us appreciate his greatness on the ice. Bobby Ryan is a career positive AB player, with a career AB score of +2.10. Ryan has had three negative individual AB seasons in the twelve years of data, and two of the three have come in the last two seasons in Ottawa. His other negative season was a -0.77 score, which is still very respectable. However, 2017-18 and 2018-19 were the worst AB scores of Bobby Ryan’s career, with -2.05, and -5.25 scores. Not only could this be a result of the horrible play of the Senators overall in the last two seasons, but the fact that Ryan was struggling with addiction. In his last three seasons in Ottawa, Ryan had penalty taken/drawn ratios of 12:15, 7:12, and 9:17, which are all solid for a forward. His giveaway/takeaway numbers over those same three seasons were also above average, at 48:50, 37:24, and an even 0 turnover +/- (takeaways-giveaways) in 2016. In his 827 game career, Ryan has scored 253 goals and registered 301 assists for 554 points.
The NHL player assistance program began in 1996 and was supposed to be a confidential program that provides players and their families with assistance with mental health, substance abuse, and other matters. Ryan has had a rough personal life and childhood upbringing, as his father would relentlessly beat his mother in a drunken rage. He and his mother eventually forgave his father, but he was arrested in 2000 and spent five years in jail. They had to move to El Segundo, California, and live under assumed names. Obviously, this is a lot for anyone to handle much less a professional athlete, and we are so happy to see that the NHL player assistance program made a positive difference in his case. We will be tuning into more Senators games for the remainder of the season, as the team’s future is looking brighter by the day. With Ryan in the fold, we think it’ll be even better.
According to Tankathon.com, Ottawa has a 33.9% chance of getting a top-three pick from their own pick and a 28.8% chance of getting a top-three pick with San Jose’s pick. Those picks have the 3rd and 4th best odds at #1 respectively, as Ottawa’s pick has 11.5%, and San Jose’s pick has a 9.5% chance. Ottawa currently has a record of 22-31-12, with 56 points in 65 games. They are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games but having Bobby Ryan back in the lineup is definitely going to be a spark to this young Senators team. More to come.