When rumors of Bobby Ryan‘s possible departure from the Ducks surfaced last season, many Kings fans began salivating at the idea of bringing him to Los Angeles. While it’s highly unlikely that Anaheim would have ever traded him to a division rival, that didn’t stop people on the internet from day dreaming about the possibility.
As we discussed on the MayorsManor radio show a few weeks ago, although nearly every other member of the Ducks is hated by the loyal followers who pack Staples Center, Ryan has managed to escape their contempt. In fact, he’s largely revered.
Perhaps part of it goes back to a party thrown by Kings captain Dustin Brown in the summer of 2010. During the festivities that night, Ryan told us, “I have so many good friends on the Kings.” He had played with Trevor Lewis, Brad Richardson and Wayne Simmonds back in Owen Sound, during his junior hockey days. More recently, he had grown closer with Brown during their time together with USA Hockey at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Nowadays, you can also add Dustin Penner into that mix. Although he never played with Ryan in Anaheim, they’ve certainly gotten to know each other – as Penner has maintained strong ties with several of his former teammates, who are now friends with the guy with two first names (as Penner jokingly referred to him).
Which brings us back to today.
Kings fans were clamoring for Ryan to join the club. That’s not happening.
But, perhaps, a little glimpse of what might have been is set to shine through.
Mora IK, the Swedish club Anze Kopitar has been spending his time with during the lockout, has an opening on their roster for an import player (note: European teams designate specific roster spots for native born players vs North American players. Thus, Ryan won’t be taking the spot of a Swedish born player).
Team GM Peter Hermodsson looked over the vast stockpile of NHL players without jobs at the moment and curiously landed on Ryan as a possible candidate to the fill the hole.
Not that long ago, Ryan said he had no interest in going overseas. Obviously, he’s had a change of heart. On Tuesday, Ryan confirmed to Westcoasthky.com that he’ll be joining Kopitar, his brother Gasper and the rest of the Mora team over in Sweden’s tier II league.
So what changed?
Simple, a request from Kopitar.
After learning of Mora’s interest in Ryan – and confident he’d be a good fit on the team – Kopitar reached out to his agent, Pat Brisson.
“I asked if he knew what his situation was,” Kopitar told MayorsManor. “And then Bobby emailed me the next morning.”
Prior to the offer, Ryan had been staying in shape by skating 3-5 days a week, both in Anaheim with other Ducks players and in Los Angeles with members of the Kings. A few weeks ago he also participated in a charity game at the Kings training facility.
His trip over to Sweden will feature a brief stop in Atlantic City this weekend, where Ryan will skate in another charity hockey game alongside two dozen other NHL players. Coincidentally, Ryan is scheduled to be on the ‘NY Team’ (on a line with Brad Richards and Corey Perry) and they’ll be taking on a ‘Philly Team’ featuring a line of Scott Hartnell, Simon Gagne and Justin Williams.
He’ll likely make his debut with Mora next Wednesday, something Kopitar is eagerly awaiting.
“It should be really fun (playing) with him and his dirty hands!” he said.
They might not be in a Kings uniform together, but this could be your only chance to hear – ‘Kopitar…to Ryan…and he scores.’
Jonathan Davis, an occasional contributor to MayorsManor, assisted with this article. Follow him on twitter (@westcoasthky) and read his blog (westcoasthky.com). Davis is a a 20-year veteran of sports and entertainment writing and producing, including supplying regular content to The Hockey News and TSN in Canada.
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