|Bobby Ryan has scored at least 30 goals in each of the last four seasons. (Getty Images)|
The Ottawa Senators reportedly gave the Columbus Blue Jackets something to think about in the Rick Nash trade talks more than any other team. Their bid seemed to entice the Jackets more than any other thus far. But Nash doesn't have Ottawa on his wish list and now the Sens are done barking up that tree.
So now it's on to Plan B ... Bobby Ryan.
While the Senators believe top prospects Jacob Silfverberg and Mark Stone and newly-signed winger Guillaume Latendresse are going to battle for spots, don't be surprised if Ottawa is in the Ryan sweepstakes.
Even if captain Daniel Alfredsson does decide against retirement and signs an extension, the Senators could still add depth up front. With its pursuit of Nash, the club proved owner Eugene Melnyk is willing to spend.
Sources say the Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Tampa Bay Lightning and Senators are amongst a group of teams that will make a pitch for Ryan. The Ducks may also have to clear salary off the deck to sign Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
This shouldn't be a surprise to anybody. I called Ryan the Senators' Plan B but only because of the chain of events. I am not sure how many view Ryan as second to Nash on the trade block now with all things considered -- including the cost to obtain each player.
In fact, Jesse Spector of the Sporting News did a good job explaining why Ryan is a better option than Nash straight up.
Last season, both Nash and Ryan played all 82 games, with trade rumors serving as a possible distraction at various points throughout the season. Nash scored 30 goals, his fifth straight season and seventh overall reaching the benchmark tally, while Ryan netted 31 goals for his fourth straight campaign over 30. In addition to scoring one more goal than Nash, Ryan did it on 102 fewer shots on goal—of the 30 players in the NHL who scored 30 or more goals, Nash was the only one to do so with shooting accuracy of less than 10 percent.
So yeah, Ryan ain't too shabby.
The Senators are in a position where they are thinking about the future, obviously. They had no trouble scoring last season, it was the defense that was subpar. So why do they keep chasing wingers? Well Daniel Alfredsson is at the end of his line. In fact, the Sens are still waiting to hear if he has played the last game of his career already.
Because Nash came onto the trade market first there seems to be a lingering idea that he is the biggest and will be the first dominoe to fall when it comes to trading forwards. But right now it seems that a lot more teams are champing at the bit to get in on Ryan than Nash, which is understandable for a lot of reasons.