Anaheim Ducks win waiting game, sign Bobby Ryan to 5-year deal

The Anaheim Ducks and restricted free-agent winger Bobby Ryan(notes) ended their summer-long contract squabble Tuesday with a five-year, $25.5 million deal as first reported by Bob McKenzie of TSN. It's a contract that both conflicts with and jibes with what Ryan was reportedly after in this free-agent deal.

Ryan turned down a five-year, $25 million deal with the Ducks earlier this summer, according to GM Bob Murray, and expressed a desire to do a deal for no more than three years. Under this contract, Ryan's giving up some unrestricted free-agency years under the new CBA. It's a longer term than many expected for him.

At the same time, the average annual cap hit of $5.1 million per season fits a desire Ryan had been adamant about during the negotiation: That he not be compensated more than his veteran linemates.

Here's Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks back in June, talking to the Orange County Register about his restricted free agency and next contract with the team.

Ryan made clear that he isn't seeking to become the Ducks' highest-paid forward. Ryan Getzlaf(notes) and Corey Perry(notes) are both on five-year contract extensions with identical salary cap hits worth $5.325 million. Perry is scheduled to make $5.375,000 million in 2010-11; Getzlaf will make $5,125,000.

"Not even close," Ryan said of seeking comparable or better salaries. "I completely understand that nobody makes more than Getzlaf and Perry. I have no problem with that. I never expected that. I know those are the two guys and we build from there."

So the Ryan deal is now official after last week's false alarm that would have had Ryan making more than that duo. Larry Brooks of the N.Y. Post reported last Tuesday evening that Ryan and the Anaheim Ducks had "reached agreement with Ducks for contract believed 5 years for approximately $5.5 million per season." But Helene Elliott of the L.A. Times passed along an on-the-record denial from Bobby Ryan's camp saying no deal was done with the Ducks.

From Ducks Blog, some additional specifics on the Ryan deal:

ESPN's E.J. Hradek reported that Ryan will be paid $3.25 million in the coming 2010-11 season and $5,562,500 in each of the remaining four years. A source told the Register that the contract does not contain either a no-trade clause or a no-movement clause. Ryan is expected to sign this afternoon.

For the Ducks and GM Bob Murray, it's a huge win. Getting Ryan to commit long-term gives this team a sense of future stability in light of Niedermayer's retirement, with players like Teemu Selanne(notes) near the end, and with Getzlaf and Perry scheduled for UFA status in 2013. Ryan's signing is a public relations victory for a team in transition; the fact that he's a marketable player that we haven't managed to scare off Twitter yet is also a plus.

For Ryan, it's a handsome reward for seasons of 31 and 35 goals. It may not be the contract he wanted, but the one he received was fair value within the context of the team's budget. Getting this done before camp was essential for all parties, and now it's finally done.

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