The Free Press’s Helene St. James answers a reader’s question as to which of the Red Wings’ free agent signings was most astute this morning, and St. James answers in triplicate–praising the signings of Thomas Greiss (most important), Vladislav Namestnikov (best signing) and Bobby Ryan (most underrated) in a subscriber-only article. I’m going to focus on the Ryan signing:
The most underrated signing was Ryan. For one year, $1 million, the Wings got a 33-year-old former 30-goal scorer motivated to reboot his career after a rough 2019-20 (Ryan missed three months dealing with substance abuse issues, and, after playing in just 24 games, was bought out by the Ottawa Senators). It speaks to Yzerman’s thoroughness that even for a one-year contract, he did a lot of research on Ryan, partly to make sure he’d be a good fit in a mostly young locker room. It speaks volumes about Ryan, who wasn’t exactly kicking away suitors, that he did his own research, reaching out to Dylan Larkin to get a feel for the culture and character in the Wings’ locker room.
Ryan could find a longer-term home with the Wings — or he could appeal at the trade deadline to a contender looking for scoring help, and be flipped for a draft pick. There’s no risk, just potential reward with this signing.
Continued (paywall); I’m not a big believer in stacking a rebuilding team’s roster with veterans–I prefer to “let the kids play”–but I do believe that the additions of a couple of key mentors can stabilize the team’s youthful core, and Ryan appears to be a near-perfect fit in that department, regardless of how long he spends with the organization.