Add another name to the ever-churning trade rumor mill.  TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that Anaheim GM Bob Murray has been receiving numerous calls regarding 25-year-old left wing Bobby Ryan.

You’ll recall that Ryan was in the thick of swirling trade winds in November, but the firing of coach Randy Carlyle quashed those discussions for the 2011-2012 season.

But now McKenzie reports that Murray is again at least willing to discuss Ryan’s availability, even if Anaheim isn’t actively shopping him.

Make no mistake; the Ducks aren’t in a position where they must dump Ryan quickly as Columbus is with Rick Nash.  However, it does make sense for Murray to consider trade offers for a couple of reasons:

  1. Murray is obviously aware of the absurd proposals being bandied about as potential returns for Nash.  No team has yet pulled the trigger on a deal because of Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson’s ridiculous demands, but the fact that packages like Joe Pavelski and Ryan Clowe from San Jose are even being mentioned could be reason enough for Murray, along with several other general managers, to ponder what pieces they might be able to acquire for their coveted scorers.
  2. Star forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are both set to be unrestricted free agents next summer.  Anaheim has a set internal budget that is much lower than the salary cap ceiling and Murray may realize that tying up north of $18 million in three players is a recipe for a thin supporting cast that would be unable to contend.  Re-signing Perry, who tallied 87 goals over the last two seasons and won the 2011 Hart Trophy, is obviously the priority.  And evidently the Ducks may prefer to try to keep Getzlaf over Ryan, despite a disastrous 2011-2012 season from the 27-year-old center.

Again, there’s no real rush for Murray to make a deal, but he’ll have to make a decision at some point on which two players he wants to keep from what has been the best line in the league over the last few years.  With the draft approaching and several teams itching to deal, it’s a wise move by Murray listen to some proposals.

Rangers GM Glen Sather is surely one of the league executives burning up Murray’s phone line, as he was when Ryan was first on the market.

It’s no secret that New York desperately wants to acquire a premier scorer and since Howson’s demands are still through the roof, Ryan could make for a solid Plan B.

Actually, he may be the preferable option for one key reason: Ryan carries a cap hit of $5.1 million for three more seasons while Nash is accompanied by a $7.8 million price tag through 2017-2018.  Ryan also happens to be three years younger than the Blue Jackets captain.

Is Ryan actually the better player?  Few would argue that at this point, but he does have four consecutive 30-goal seasons – albeit with far superior linemates – and has 11 points (eight goals, three assists) in 19 career playoff games.

Ryan is less of a “name” star than Nash, but Buffalo was reportedly prepared to ship franchise goalie Ryan Miller to the Ducks in return for Ryan and Jonas Hiller last fall before the deal fell apart when Miller was concussed by Boston’s Milan Lucic.

McKenzie believes that the Ducks would now want “two or three building block pieces” in exchange for Ryan and would prefer not to add salary.

As usual, top prospect Tim Erixon would surely be involved in a trade package.  New York’s first-round pick might not be as enticing to Anaheim as it would be to Columbus, but the Rangers’ host of cheap, young players would be.  The Ducks will ask for some combination of Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Artem Anisimov, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto.  The Rangers will likely counter by offering something along the lines of Erixon, Anisimov, Christian Thomas and a first-round pick. For more on our take of what it could cost to land Bobby Ryan, check out a great write up from Dave here.

Whether Murray and Sather will be able to find a middle ground is impossible to say, but this is a story that will only pick up steam as the general managers mingle in Pittsburgh this week.

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