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Bobby Ryan Details Why He Chose Red Wings in NHL Free Agency

Bobby Ryan detailed why he chose to sign with the Detroit Red Wings in 2020 NHL free agency.

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Speaking to Craig Custance of the Athletic, newly-signed forward Bobby Ryan discussed the process that was his being released by the Ottawa Senators and then ultimately signing with the Detroit Red Wings. He noted what went into his decision to head to Detroit and a rebuilding organization and why he thinks it’s the best move he could have made this offseason.

Related: Red Wings Avoiding NHL Offer Sheet For “Personal Reasons”

Ryan noted that his being bought out by the Senators came as a shock. He wasn’t expecting the call, it was short and he quickly realized it was time to move on. Saying he’d not been through free agency before, he took a lot of calls and listened to a number of pitches from teams projecting where he might fit. He knew what he was likely to make on a one-year deal and most of the conversations weren’t long, but he said his talk with Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman was different. He noted, “It was just an outstanding conversation.” He added, “Detroit just made the most sense for so many different reasons.”

The biggest reason was where he fit on the team. When asked why he chose Detroit — a team most don’t believe will be all that competitive this coming season — and not a Stanley Cup contending team, Ryan said:

I knew that I needed to prove there is still some high-end hockey in me. I didn’t want to go somewhere and immediately be a third- or fourth-line guy. I still think I can play in the top six to nine. Steve made it clear I can earn that there. 

Ryan also noted that there were lots of good young players he was excited to play with, specifically naming Dylan Larkin as someone he thinks he’ll get a shot with.

Bobby Ryan Ottawa Senators
Bobby Ryan Ottawa Senators

Ryan Could Be Moved at the NHL Trade Deadline

Ryan also said that Yzerman was open about the idea of moving him at the trade deadline if he was having a good year and contending teams came calling. If another club offered him a chance to move and play for the Cup, Yzerman said he wasn’t about to get in the way of what would be best for Ryan at that point.

For the Red Wings it make sense too. If Ryan plays well, he was a low-cost signing that turned into another asset at the end of a rebuilding season.

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