Red Wings: It’s Good to See Bobby Ryan Get Another Shot

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Sure the Detroit Red Wings are bringing back Bobby Ryan on a professional tryout and haven’t formally offered a contract. But it’s a low risk, high reward shot at padding some depth for Detroit and bringing back a fan favorite who if he can stay healthy, could add some production that could help the team in the long run.

Ryan had seven goals and 14 points in just 33 games last season, and winning a spot on a team that will have more talent this season could see an uptick in those numbers. Ryan did struggle to stay healthy and saw his season shut down after an upper body injury.

Wings fans hoped to see Ryan back another season at an affordable deal, as he endeared himself to the fanbase with both his play and attitude. It also didn’t hurt that he scored three goals in his first three games.

Though his production slowed and he was unable to suit up due to injury, Ryan was one of the few Red Wings who was a scoring threat while on the ice. With some more talent plugged in, Ryan would stand to benefit if he turns the PTO into what would most likely be a one-year deal.

Red Wings Added Punch this Offseason, Need the Depth

From a hypothetical standpoint, the Red Wings are looking to round out the third and fourth lines. Competition will certainly be steep with the likes of Givani Smith, Sam Gagner, Joe Veleno, Chase Pearson and Mitchell Stephens fighting for a couple of those spots. Add in Lucas Raymond and even Jonatan Berggren to the mix and that’s a lot of guys vying for few openings.

If we’re looking at previous returns, here’s a guess at how the top four lines could shake out:

Vrana – Larkin – Zadina
Bertuzzi – Suter – Fabbri
Erne – Rasmussen – Namestnikov
Veleno – Stephens – Gagner

I see Veleno making the team out of camp and moving to wing to allow Stephens to center the line. It’s also very possible that many of these names are interchangeable for various reasons. Pearson had a nice camp and could force his way not only into the conversation, but the lineup with a good training camp. Raymond is also a possibility after he looked every bit the part of the top pick they drafted in 2020 at the fourth overall spot.

Berggren’s health is paramount at this point, but there’s no denying how good he is if we’re to judge by what was seen both overseas and at the prospect tournament. It’s not a longshot to think if his health is good through camp and preseason, he could make a real push and make the roster.

Gagner seems the safe veteran bet to be penciled in the right wing as the team is desperate for right hand shots. It’s also what helps Ryan get an additional, and realistic look during camp.

Ryan could slide into that fourth line wing position and would actually complement Veleno quite well. Stephens offensive output is more Darren Helm/Luke Glendening like and less the type of forward to push scoring.

A Win-Win for the Redwings and Ryan no matter what happens

If he scores, stays health, and meshes well with the lines, there’s a decent shot that Ryan hangs on and finds himself with Detroit for another season. HIs ice time will probably dip and he might be watching games more, but he would be a good secondary option should injuries pile up or some players don’t perform as expected during camp or the beginning of the regular season.

Regardless of how it plays out, it’s great to see Ryan back on the roster for at least a handful of camp days and some preseason games. Hockeytown took to Ryan quickly, and it will again if he manages to make the roster.

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