Last season, Bobby Ryan started off the season on a tear. He even put up 20 points in 21 games leading into the All-Star break, earning him a berth at the All-Star Game. However, after the break, his play fell off, highlighted by one goal in his final 20 games. (A goal which, incidentally, was kicked in by Zdeno Chara.)
Starting a new seven-year, $7.25-million-per-year contract, Ryan has committed to less time on social media and more time focused on hockey. But I was wondering what constitutes a successful season for Ryan. He was brought in to be a goal scorer, but his role has transformed since being here. Here are four options for what could represent a successful season:
- 30 Goals: Ryan was a thirty-goal scorer four consecutive seasons with the Ducks. After three years off, Ryan could return to that benchmark of a sniper. He'd also be the first thirty-goal scorer for the team since Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza both accomplished the feat in 2011-12.
- 60 Points: Though Ryan's goal-scoring has dropped, last season he put up 36 assists, one off from his career high. It's possible that he is transitioning into a more balanced offensive style. Amazingly, Ryan has only topped 60 points twice in his career. And if he could top it again this season, even without clearing 20 goals, it could mark a successful season as a playmaker.
- 200-Foot Play: One thing Ryan was lauded for last year was his responsibility as a defensive player. If Ryan transitions into a two-way force, many could see this as a success. It's hard to quantify 200-foot play, but I think we could see some results. If Ryan starts getting time on the PK, is put out to defend a lead in the last minute of the third period, or starts to show some solid possession stats, it could be safe to say that Two-Way Bobby has arrived.
- Leadership: If two-way play is hard to quantify, this one is nearly impossible. Still, last season, with Chris Phillips and Chris Neil out for extended periods, Ryan grew into one of the leaders for the team. As one of the veterans on a fairly young squad, it's his job to help newer guys adjust to life in the NHL. If he grows into a responsible leader on this team, many will see his year as successful.
So which of these would constitute a successful season for Bobby in your eyes? Or is there another measure by which you would judge his season? Let us know in the comments!