One of the biggest questions heading into the 2015-16 season was if Bobby Ryan could return to his old form. Pundits said that if Ottawa wanted to be successful, Ryan needed to be that 30-goal scorer again. Very early on, it was looking like Ryan was still on the same slump that he was on late last season. He couldn't do much on the ice, and 3 of the points that he did have were from empty-net goals.
However, in the past 10 games he has scored 4 goals and has 7 assists, registering a point in the nine previous to the Colorado game. Even in his past 15 games he has 7 goals and 9 assists, which makes for a total of 20 points in just 22 games. Suffice to say he's had the start that people were expecting. Nobody is doubting his skillset or his ability to score goals. However, the question is, can he keep it up?
It isn't a guarantee that he'll keep pace and finish with say 30 goals and 40 assists. He's only cracked the 70 point mark once in his career, and I'm not sure he'll do it again. While he could still finish with a solid number of points, there is a bit of concern that he could drop off again.
While last year Ryan had a career low shooting percentage at 8.7%, this year it is all the way up to 14.8%, up from his career average of 13%. You would think that number comes down just a bit, plus he's on pace for 201 shots which is down from last years total of 221. He hasn't been horrible at taking shots, but his totals are certainly a bit lower than his career norms.
It is also a bit concerning that Ryan has been one of Ottawa's worst possession players. He sits 4th last on the team in CF% at 41.9%, and is 14th on the team in CF% relative at -4.4%, but don't tell him those numbers, because he doesn't care about Corsica. He may have a bit of luck involved to his start, and I don't think he'll be close to a point per game player all year, mostly because he never has been.
However, I'm not trying to bash Ryan in this article. I love that he has "hit the side of the ketchup bottle" and he's finding ways to score. The Senators need him to be a top line player, and with him scoring and making great plays, Ottawa has two fantastic right wingers. He has some limitations obviously though. He is never going to be a great possession player, but if he is playing with one of Kyle Turris, Mike Hoffman, or Clarke MacArthur he will be fine in that regard. He's had success with Turris so far, and I think that could be a good long-term solution.
Ryan is also a very streaky player and when he's off he's really off, as last year showed. But he has the upside as he's one of the most skilled players on the team. He doesn't need to be the one that drives the play, he just needs to score the goals. With that in mind, there are a few scenarios that could happen for him for the rest of the season, and I want to hear what the fans think.
He could either keep up the pace an finish with between 70-80 points as a star right-winger, drop off a bit but still finish in the 60-69 point range where he normally sits, or drop off quite a bit to end up with between 45-59 points. Keep in mind that there are 60 games left, so a total of say 50 points would mean just 30 points in the last 60 games.