In a move that has shocked the hockey world, the Ottawa Senators are placing Bobby Ryan on unconditional waivers, for the purposes of buying out his contract.
Expect the Ottawa Senators to place Bobby Ryan on waivers for the purpose of a buyout.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) September 25, 2020
The 33 year-old winger has two years remaining on his deal, at an annual cap hit of $7.25M per year. A buyout will save the team $3.67M in real money, and payment can be deferred over the next four years.
TSN’s Pierre Lebrun reports that the team is opting to free up roster spots for young players, while using the cap room to bring in talent from teams eyeing their four second-round picks. However, skeptics point to this as a purely financial move, in order to capitalize in real money savings in a COVID-era NHL.
Between having to sign their RFAs and needing to go find a goalie, cap floor not a concern. While I think some teams are tying to dump contracts on them, Sens are fielding way more calls from teams right now looking to get at their bevy of 2nd round picks...— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) September 25, 2020
Ryan is coming off a season that started off as tumultuous, but could better be described as story by its end. Leaving the team in November of 2019 to enter the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program, Ryan returned in February of 2020, and admitted that he had been seeking treatment for alcoholism. His first game back on home ice was the stuff of legends, netting a hat trick in a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
For his resilience, and dedication to the game of hockey, Ryan was awarded the 2020 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, becoming the second Ottawa Senator since Craig Anderson (2017) to take the award home.
Traded to Ottawa in the summer of 2013; in exchange for Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen, and a 2014 first-round pick, Ryan often faced criticism for not living up to a lucrative contract, but always came through when it mattered. During the team’s run to the 2017 Eastern Conference Final, he was one of the team’s top performers. Ryan tallied six goals and nine assists, including two overtime winners.
Once the move goes through, and Ryan is off the roster, the Senators will have three forwards under contract for next season and will stand at $22M under the cap floor.