ANAHEIM, Calif. — All four principals in one of the most significant trades in both teams' history likely will take the ice in the same game for the first time when the Anaheim Ducks meet the Ottawa Senators on Sunday at the Honda Center.
Senators winger Bobby Ryan returns to the city where he began his NHL career to face fellow wingers Jakob Silfverberg, Nick Ritchie and Stefan Noesen, now property of the Ducks.
Ryan was Anaheim's first selection and the second overall in the 2005 NHL draft. The native of Cherry Hill, N.J., joined the Ducks in 2007 and scored at least 30 goals in four consecutive seasons between 2008 and 2012. But managing the salary cap meant trading Ryan in July 2013 for Silfverberg, Noesen and Ottawa's first draft choice in the 2014 draft, the 10th overall selection, which Anaheim used on Ritchie.
Since arriving in Canada's capital, Ryan has yet to have the kind of offensive success he enjoyed playing on the same line as center Ryan Getzlaf and right winger Corey Perry. Now 29, Ryan accumulated as many as 23 goals for the Senators in 2013-14 and 56 points last season. Both totals fall short of his highs with the Ducks.
This season, Ryan has only three goals and eight points after 23 games. He sustained a bone bruise on one of his fingers Nov. 17 against the Nashville Predators. He missed five of the ensuing nine games and before returning to the lineup Wednesday night in San Jose.
Senators General Manager Pierre Dorion considered making a trade if Ryan were unavailable for an extended period.
“It does take pressure off, because when Bobby first got hurt, we didn't know the extent of it,” Dorion told the Ottawa Citizen. “For awhile there, we thought it could be long-term. I made a few calls, but we're very happy with our depth and the guys we've called up have done a good job, whether it's up front or on defense. I'm still making calls, but with Bobby back, there might not be as much need immediately.”
Meanwhile, Silfverberg found a home on the right side of the Ducks' most consistent line, which includes center Ryan Kesler and left winger Andrew Cogliano. Silfverberg owns a reputation as a solid two-way forward as the 26-year-old Swede ranks third on the team with eight goals and leads Anaheim with a plus-9 rating.
Ritchie, who turned 21 on Monday, is on pace to finish with 18 goals as a left winger after being shuttled between the Ducks and their AHL affiliate in San Diego last season. Ritchie has played with Getzlaf and Perry on the first line and on the third line as a physical presence with skill.
Noesen, promoted from San Diego on Wednesday, made his season debut that night against the Carolina Hurricanes and scored his first NHL goal in his third career appearance. In San Diego the previous night, Noesen scored the tying goal with 9.3 seconds left in regulation, as the Gulls earned a 4-3 overtime victory against Bakersfield.
“It's definitely surreal,” Noesen said of the timing. “I'm happy to be here.”