Vegas Golden Knights 2020 Free Agency: Ryan might be an intriguing depth option

Bobby Ryan could be an interesting fit for the Vegas Golden Knights.

It is Christmas in the National Hockey League with Free Agency opening at noon ET today, and the Vegas Golden Knights should be busy.

We’ve covered it all in a handy piece here, but the Golden Knights are trying to move a number of pieces in order to create the cap space needed to go after a big-hitter in stud defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

While a horse on the blueline such as Pietrangelo could be the final piece needed to push this team over the top in the push for the Stanley Cup, there are also issues the Golden Knights need to address.

One of those bugaboos was really exposed in the latter stages of the postseason as the Knights struggled to light the lamp against both the Vancouver Canucks and the Dallas Stars.

The good news is that there will be a load of depth scorers available in Free Agency,  and there is a name out there that should really interest the Golden Knights.

Bobby Ryan.

Ticks all the boxes

With the Ottawa Senators in the midst of a massive rebuild, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when they opted to Buyout some of their veterans.

Chief among them was forward Bobby Ryan, who has been on one hell of a journey having won the 2020 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the player showing the most dedication and perseverance to hockey.

It was incredibly well deserved for Ryan who showed incredible bravery in opening up about his battle with alcohol addiction.

Ryan missed a large chunk of the 2019-20 season after seeking professional help and treatment for alcohol abuse, checking into an in-patient clinic in order to seek a permanent solution.

After getting the help he needed, Ryan returned to the Senators and showed tremendous strength and courage by really opening up and sharing his experiences.

Then, in what was an emotional and incredible moment, Ryan returned to the Senators lineup for a game against the Vancouver Canucks on home ice and recorded a hat-trick in what was just his second game back.

It was an unbelievable and richly deserved moment for Ryan, and it will stand out as one of the most memorable moments in recent NHL history.

Now a free agent, there should be a handful of teams interested in the winger who still has a hell of a lot to offer, especially for a contending team such as the Golden Knights.

Although he’s 33-years-old heading into the off-season, Ryan still has plenty left in the tank and he could really provide the secondary scoring that the Golden Knights have been lacking.

Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan (9)

Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan (9) skates during warm ups. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

He had 42 points (15 G, 27 A) in 78 games in 2018-19 with a 2.5 Point Shares and he’s an absolute power play specialist, recording 62 career goals and 139 career assists on the man advantage thanks to his elite vision and wicked release.

Ryan could really man the second power play unit for the Golden Knights, injecting some power into a man advantage that really struggled inside The Bubble, with Vegas ranked 11th on the PP (18.2%) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Vegas could also slot Ryan in on the third-line along with Alex Tuch and perhaps Chandler Stephenson, giving them a third legitimate scoring line.

Plus, Ryan has some pedigree in the postseason having gone on an absolute tear for the Senators in the 2016-17 Stanley Cup Playoffs, putting up six goals and nine assists for 15 points in 19 games.

And, most importantly, Ryan shouldn’t cost too much for the Golden Knights. Carrying a $7,250,000 cap hit in 2019-20 with the Senators, it has been indicated that the forward would take a significant pay cut in order to join a contender.

Vegas could sign Ryan on a one-year or a two-year deal with an AAV of $2-$3.5 million, giving Ryan a chance to compete for a Stanley Cup while giving the Golden Knights an added offensive weapon who could add some much-needed secondary scoring.

It could be a real win-win for both parties.