Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan faces a career crossroads and Ryan Malone could receive a training-camp tryout. 

The Senators will find it expensive to re-sign Bobby Ryan.

The Senators will find it expensive to re-sign Bobby Ryan.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien has a brief profile of Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. O’Brien believes the 27-year-old could have a big payday coming, either with the Senators or another club via free agency next July. Ryan’s current annual cap hit is $5.1 million and O’Brien believes it’s a good idea for the Senators to evaluate his performance this season before offering him a significant raise. As Ryan will be in line for a substantial new deal anyway, O’Brien suggests it’s worthwhile determining if he’ll be a good fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ryan could be the best available player in next summer’s free-agent market. He could command upwards of $8 million per season on a seven-year deal. It remains to be seen if the Senators are willing to pony up the big bucks necessary to retain him.

Starting this season the Senators will be getting more revenue from both a new TV deal with TSN (believed worth at least $33 million annually over the next ten years) and their share of the NHL’s new Canadian TV deal with Sportsnet. There’s no guarantee, however,  Senators owner Eugene Melnyk will put most or all of that money towards payroll. He could instead use it to address other issues for the club, such as a much-needed renovation of their arena.

If Melnyk is willing to pay Ryan’s asking price, it’s then up to the winger to decide if his future is with the Senators. If he doesn’t, there’s no amount the Senators can offer which will keep him in Ottawa. For those of you who doubt Ryan would sign elsewhere for less money, remember that other players have done so. Daniel Briere was a notable example, rejecting a bigger offer from the Montreal Canadiens to sign with the Philadelphia Flyers.

For Senators fans who believe I’m disparaging your club, it doesn’t matter to me where Ryan signs, so don’t take this personally. I’m merely pointing out that it’s not a certainty. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo recently reported former Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ryan Malone looked good at a recent pre-training camp skate run by Octagon. With Malone’s legal issues in Tampa Bay now behind him, Russo believes an NHL club could sign him (the NY Rangers reportedly had interest) or he receives a training-camp tryout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In a recent Soapbox I included Malone on a list of NHL free agents who are facing the end of their playing careers. It could take a training-camp tryout for Malone to secure a one-year deal with an NHL team this season. His legal issues aside, the 34-year-old Malone has a lengthy injury history which could dampen his value.