File this under "it's about time!" The Anaheim Ducks and restricted free agent Bobby Ryan have finally come to an agreement on a new contract. The contract is reportedly worth $25.5 million over the next five years. The contract still needs to be signed and filed, but the biggest hurdle to overcome was agreeing to terms.
Both Ryan and the Ducks had been dithering back and forth, off and on, for far longer than anyone was comfortable. Training camp officially opens this weekend and fans were getting nervous (and ugly) about not having Ryan locked into a deal. All parties involved now can breathe huge sighs of relief.
The biggest point of contention seemed to be the length of the contract. Ryan did not want to be locked up for as long as GM Bob Murray wanted him to be. Murray had some valid reasons for not wanting a shorter contract. First and foremost was the fact that Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have contracts that expire in 2013. Negotiating two new contracts with those players would be plenty of work for the GM. Adding a third major contract to expire in three years of a top six player would merely add to that burden.
Ryan, being a restricted agent, was not handed any offer sheets over the summer, so his options were limited. He had no choice but to negotiate if he wanted to play this season.
The Ducks have enough questions to be answered this year - how will the defense stand up? Will Joffrey Lupul play? Will the Ducks have enough offense to overcome any defensive issues? Will the team be good enough and consistent enough to make the playoffs next spring after missing them for the first time in five years? The Ducks did not need to add will he or won't he sign and play drama to the mix.
So at least this question has been answered. If only the other ones could be answered as easily.