Derek Ryan gets his chance as part of a shake up
Derek Ryan along with Brock McGinn and Matt Tennyson were recalled from the AHL after a lackluster home loss on November 10 and prior to the next game on November 12.
At the time, the Hurricanes were sputtering a bit with 3 consecutive losses (1 of the shootout variety) and were struggling to score goals. The team had failed to score more than 2 goals in each of the 5 previous games.
The move had an element of trying to boost scoring with help. At the time of the recall, Derek Ryan and Brock McGinn were red hot. Derek Ryan had 5 goals and assists in 9 games, and Brock McGinn had 5 goals in 3 assists also in 9 games. I think the move also had an element of trying to shake up the existing Hurricanes roster with the hope of getting more from the core group. It was after a similar 3-player AHL call up in early December of 2015 that the 2015-16 Carolina Hurricanes found a higher gear and started to win.
So Derek Ryan entered the lineup with the potential to provide a boost offensively but at a minimum in the role of a lightning rod to try to jolt the rest of the team.
Derek Ryan’s quiet start
Ryan’s run at the NHL level started quietly. He was not bad and did not stand out negatively on the defensive side of the puck, but he did not produce much initially either. Not until his fifth game did he pick up a scoring point (an assist against Toronto), and his first goal of the 2016-17 season at the NHL level did not come until his eighth game. He finished November with a modest 2 scoring points in 9 games, but significantly he did not stand out negatively along the way. During that time frame, the Hurricanes inability to find anything for depth scoring especially from multiple iterations of the third line was a regular topic of my pregame, post-game and other articles.
Post-Jordan Staal injury, settling in and surging
On Sunday, November 27 against the Florida Panthers, Jordan Staal was whacked in the head with an inadvertent stick and sustained a concussion. The injury created more ice time to be distributed at the center position and also the power play. In the first game after Staal’s injury, Ryan had a quiet night with no points on the score sheet, but since the calendar flipped to December for the game after that he has been on fire. In 7 games in December, Ryan has a big 3 goals and 6 assists. He has been a driver on the power play (1 goal and 3 assists in 7 games) but importantly also at even strength where he has 2 goals and 3 assists.
During the month of the December, Ryan has rapidly moved up the ladder from being a decent depth fill in that could be destined for an AHL return once Staal returned to an offensive contributor to someone helping drive the offense who therefore is the kind of player that you find a place for in the lineup; hence his move to right wing to play on the team’s top scoring line with the Skinner/Rask duo.
Derek Ryan statistics
* Ryan is tied (with Teravainen, Hanifin and Rask) for second on the team in power play scoring with 6 points which is significant given that he has played in only 16 of the Hurricanes 29 games.
* Ryan averages a power play point for every 5:56 of power play ice time which is very nearly equal to power play point leader Jeff Skinner’s rate of registering a power play point for every 5:52 of power play ice time.
* Ryan has had a point on 3 of the 4 power play goals scored by the Hurricanes in only 5 tries over the past 2 games.
Derek Ryan’s scoring pace
* Ryan’s 4 goals and 7 assists in only 16 games project to 21 goals and 56 points over a full 82-game season.
* He has accomplished this averaging only 13:04 of ice time which makes it even more impressive.
Derek Ryan’s persistence and perseverance
* He played more than 600 games at lower levels starting with juniors before finally playing in his first NHL game.
* Ryan played for 7 different lower level teams including stops in Canadian college hockey and Austrian Hockey League neither of which are even remotely common stops for future NHLers.
Derek Ryan is the kind of player that one cannot help rooting for and right now he is also playing a significant role in helping drive the Hurricanes’ suddenly surging offense.