Bobby Ryan inked a seven-year extension with the Ottawa Senators. (USATSI)
Bobby Ryan inked a seven-year extension with the Ottawa Senators. (USATSI)

The Ottawa Senators have had trouble holding onto their star players the last few years, but there’s at least one who will be sticking around for a long time. Bobby Ryan has signed a seven-year extension to remain with the club. The team confirmed that Ryan's contract comes with an annual average of $7.25 million, meaning the full deal is worth $50.75 million.

That may be a lot of money, but considering Ryan would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season, his market value as a four-time 30-goal scorer would have been exorbitant. The Senators did what they had to do to not only sign Ryan, but to get it done before the season began.

Ryan had recently noted that he wasn't in a rush to get the deal done, and rumors swirled that he'd wait things out. Now the Senators can proceed with this season worry free about the prospects of losing Ryan. Had he not been signed, the Sens may have had to consider trading him during the season to ensure they didn't lose him for nothing in unrestricted free agency.

This new contract represents a raise of more than $2 million per season from Ryan’s last deal, so they're definitely making it worth his while to stay.

The Senators brought Ryan in via trade with the Anaheim Ducks during the summer of 2013. It cost the Sens promising young forwards Jakob Silfverberg and former first-round pick Stefan Noesen, as well as Ottawa’s first-round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. To have given up that much for only two seasons would have been unfortunate. Now that Ryan is their long-term top-line scorer, the Sens have to be pretty comfortable with the deal.

The 27-year-old will be 35 when the contract expires, so there’s plenty of time for the team to get quite a bit out of their new highest-paid player.

Ryan’s first season in Ottawa wasn’t exactly the most memorable. He missed 12 games due to injury and scored just 23 goals, the lowest full-season total of his career, but slightly ahead of the scoring pace he had in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. It wasn't necessarily a bad year, just below expectations for a scorer of Ryan's ilk.

Despite the slowed production over the last two years, Ryan remains a threatening scorer having had four seasons of at least 31 goals while with the Ducks and a career shooting percentage of 13.8. Regaining that scoring form could become a bit more manageable when playing alongside budding center Kyle Turris for the next several years.

In signing Ryan, the Senators have now committed to long-term deals to each of their best veteran core players. Turris has four more years on his contract, while Clarke MacArthur was signed to a five-year extension this summer. That leaves the Sens with continuity in their top line.

Additionally, the Sens have both of their goaltenders on multi-year deals and franchise star Erik Karlsson is under contract for the next five seasons.

Now it’s up to general manager Bryan Murray to continue building out the depth around their core group. Some of that is already underway with how the Senators have drafted in recent years, but there will definitely be more work to be done to turn Ottawa into an Eastern Conference contender.

Sens ownership has often been criticized for not being willing to spend. With the work they’ve been doing this summer and particularly now with the megadeal for Ryan, they’re doing what they have to do to remain competitive and sparing no expense.