Ryan's work ethic caught Team U.S.A.'s eye

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:53 PM ET

ANAHEIM — As the first player selected after Sidney Crosby, it would have been very easy for the Anaheim Ducks to rush Bobby Ryan into the league.

However, the team recognized the need for Ryan to develop and left him in junior for a pair of extra years, then sent him to their minor-league affiliate for some more seasoning.

Now in his second full NHL season, Ryan is one of the Ducks leading scorers. Heading into Wednesday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers, Ryan, 24, was the third in team scoring with 45 point in 59 games. Only Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry had more points.

“I think he’s more comfortable with the pace of the game,” said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. “I think it all started when he started to understand the conditioning level he was playing at two or three years ago it was unacceptable.

“Now he’s 208, 207-pounds, back then, he was 225-pounds.

He was top heavy, he was a bigger guy that worked out a lot at the gym. As we talked about before, he had curls for the girls. He needed a little more foundation in his core and he understands that now.”

Ryan spend the better part of his first professional season with the Ducks AHL affiliate in Portland before coming up towards the end of the year and suiting up for 23 games. The following season he had a strong rookie campaign, collecting 31 goals and 57 points.

“Coming into my first season, I change a lot of things about myself, about my body,” Ryan said. “That all played a part of it last year, but at the end of last year, we looked at it and figured there was even more room to go with it. The year before I had to drop so much weight I never really put on any muscle, it was just about losing weight and getting down to my playing weight.

"Last summer I was able to put on some muscle, it’s helped me battle in front, battle in the corners and maintain possession with some pucks.”

A native of Cherry Hill, N.J., Ryan's play this season caught the attention of the Team U.S.A. brass. Ryan will be part of a young up-and-coming American squad at the Olympics in Vancouver.

“It’s exciting, I never played in a tournament like this,” he said. “Everyone wants to be a part of it, the best players in the world are going to be there. It going to be an international stage and in Canada’s home country, it’s going to be quite and honour to play in it.

“We’re young team, a little inexperienced a lot of guys are going to be playing in their first Olympics. But we’re going to have a lot of speed, we’re going to be aggressive and in 60-minute game anything can happen, that’s going to be the beauty of it for us.”


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