It might not necessarily become a career year, considering the shortened NHL schedule, but of all the Ducks, 25-year-old winger Bobby Ryan is the most likely to dominate.
"If I had to pick one guy who looks the best out here, it's him," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said Wednesday as the team prepared for Saturday night's season opener in Vancouver.
"He's faster, stronger, leaner than everyone else."
Ryan is pretty content too.
After being dogged by trade rumors the last few years — who wouldn't want a player who's scored 31 or more goals in each of the past four seasons? — Ryan has received a vote of confidence from Ducks General Manager Bob Murray that the team is not looking to deal him this year.
"Non-issue," Murray said in a text message when camp opened Sunday.
"It's nice that it's all been resolved and that I can come into camp and worry about other things, and once the games get going I'll have taken my mind completely off of it," Ryan said.
In the off-season, Ryan expressed some frustration about dealing with the cloud of career uncertainty. He strengthened his game playing in Sweden during the lockout, learning some of the language and improving his penalty-killing skills.
The Ducks, after ranking 19th in goals-against average last season, conceivably could have netted two good defensemen in a swap for Ryan, the second overall pick of the 2005 NHL draft, who produced a 71-point season in 2010-11.
Instead, the team spent $21 million in the summer to bring aboard big, veteran defenders Bryan Allen and Sheldon Souray.
Ducks' Bobby Ryan primed for NHL shortened season
Los Angeles Times | Jan 19