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Can Bobby Ryan Recapture his Best Form?

Following his extended leave of absence for personal reasons, Ryan made his return to the NHL back in February prior to the suspension of the league. Upon making his comeback, the 33-year-old winger was quick to showcase his abilities, scoring a hat-trick in the Senators 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. So, let’s consider whether he can recapture his best form for the Sens.  

A Determination to Succeed 

Given that this was Ryan’s first home fixture since November 15th 2019, it’s a testament to his character and determination to succeed that he was able to come back in such an effective manner. While the six-foot-two attacker is grateful for the sustained support that has enabled his comeback, he’s not content on merely being a squad player for the Senators going forward.  

After being named as the Silver Seven’s nominee for the annual Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the player who best embodies the core qualities of the NHL, Ryan stated his desire to continue being a top-six player.  

According to a report by The Athletic, the NHL’s average player age for the 2019-20 season is approximately 27 years old. Despite being six years older than the league’s equilibrium, Ryan’s experience and goalscoring prowess could undoubtedly see him secure his status as a top-six player. At the time of writing, the 33-year-old has played a career total of 833 matches. In that time, he has scored 254 goals, in addition to providing 301 assists, as per his profile at Hockey Reference.  

The Ottawa Senators Need Him Back to His Best  

Fundamentally, aside from his return acting as a potential catalyst for Ryan enjoying a clinical period in the NHL, few can argue with that fact that the Senators need him to consistently recapture his best form. Upon the conclusion of the 2019-20 season, the Silver Sevens found themselves ending the campaign in 15th place with 62 points. Disappointingly for the side who play their matches at the Canadian Tire Centre, they were only 12 points behind the Montreal Canadiens, who are valued at 100/1 to win the Stanley Cup with NHL betting odds as of June 22nd.  

Throughout their 28-year existence, the Senators have failed to win a single Stanley Cup, and that wait will continue to go on. However, it’s clear to see how much the Silver Sevens need Ryan to deliver high-class performances over the coming seasons based on their previous campaigns.  

Having made the Stanley Cup final in 2007, the Ottawa-based club has, in their history, showcased their capabilities regarding competing for highly-sought-after trophies. Moreover, in the very same year, the side now coached by D. J. Smith claimed the Eastern Conference championship. Crucially, having fallen short of replicating such form over the last few years, a player with the quality that Ryan possesses could be instrumental in the Sens' resurgence. Moreover, this may also enable the 33-year-old to fulfil his goal of becoming a top-six player.  

The Capabilities to Deliver 

Ultimately, there can be no doubts that Ryan has the ability to take the Senators back into playoff contention going forward. Fundamentally, a return to form would be highly beneficial to club and player, allowing both to focus on achieving both their long and short-term objectives.  

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