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Poll and analysis: How much should Bobby Ryan make?

May 25, 2010, 10:15 PM EDT

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bobbyryan2.jpgDuring the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, all eyes were on the super-duper hyped Sidney Crosby. For some time, one had to wonder if No. 2 pick Bobby Ryan would be a mere footnote in the league’s draft history. Or, worse yet, maybe Ryan would go down as the NHL’s version of Darko Milicic, the infamous No. 2 draft pick for the Detroit Pistons whose team won a NBA championships while he did nothing.

Such a stance could only have been taken by someone unacquainted with the time NHL prospects take to develop, though. For the past two seasons, Ryan has developed into another power forward of the future for Anaheim, scoring 31 goals in an abbreviated 08-09 season and 35 in 09-10. He’s an impact player who can produce regardless of the quality of his linemates and certainly has the potential to be a 40-goal scorer in the NHL.

Being that the team wrapped Jonas Hiller with a franchise goalie-type contract, Ryan will be Anaheim’s biggest off-season decision this summer. The Orange County Register reports that extension talks between Ryan’s representatives and the Ducks resumed this week.

In an e-mail response on Tuesday, Don Meehan of Newport Sports Management confirmed that talks have taken place recently and that he expects there will be more conversations in the coming weeks between himself, Mark Guy and Ducks assistant general manager David McNab. Guy is Ryan’s longtime agent and other representative.

Ducks GM Bob Murray also confirmed on Tuesday that negotiations are back on.

The question is, how much is Bobby Ryan worth? The OC Register also had a great post reflecting on the effects of Nicklas Backstrom’s contract on Ryan’s negotiations, rightly pointing out that the talented American winger isn’t quite as valuable – at least at this point in his career – as the Capitals center.

A salary cap dork such as myself will point out that the Ducks have a great, harmonious setup in which Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry share an identical $5.3 million cap hit. Aside from some messy deals with Joffrey Lupul and (to a lesser extent) Jason Blake, the Ducks are in excellent cap shape right now. Wrapping up Ryan will allow the team to build around a talented, affordable young nucleus (as I discussed earlier this year).

Would Ryan take a Perry-Getzlaf type deal? Maybe he deserves a bit more since – statistically speaking – he might be a little further ahead in his development than his two power forward teammates were when they signed their deals? My guess is that he’ll get something in the $5.5-$6 million range, but let’s open the floor to such discussion. What do you think he’s worth? Vote in the poll below.

(Since I didn’t cover every imaginable salary range, feel free to suggest an amount yourself.)

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