With the current crowded situation amongst the forward lines, I'd say it'll be tough sledding for him to make the opening day roster. There's definitely a chance if he wants it bad enough but I'm sure there isn't a spot waiting for him. If he works hard enough he can get it. As unpopular the notion is of him being on the fourth line I guarantee that's where he'll start, either at the beginning of the season or otherwise. That's where all of our rookie forwards broke in at.
He does need to build up his leg strength but I think he's making good progress. I watched him today at the prospect camp and his skating has improved since last September. Once he gets going his skating is fine, it's just his first step isn't that powerful yet but it's getting there. But the kid has sick hands. He was head and shoulders above everyone else today as far as skill is concerned. All the deft little passes he was making were great and he was burying a lot of his shots.
A year in Portland would definitely do him some good but I'll be damned if he spends the whole year there. The kid should be wearing a Ducks jersey at some point next season for sure.
Getzlaf and Perry made the team initially, but stumbled at the NHL level. Getzlaf and Perry then were sent down to Portland where they decimated the opposition in the AHL. They had to be promoted back to the NHL level. Even then, they were limited to minutes.
So Ryan hasn't shown the same talent that Getz and Perry demonstrated individually in the junior levels nor does Ryan have someone paired with him to share the growing pains and joys. I would be surprised to see Ryan at the NHL level on a consistency. If Ryan had the chance to stay with the team, then he would have demonstrated that during the playoffs and been able to stick with the team throughout. Let the boy grow.
As an Attack season ticket holder I have to say you guys have one hell of a prospect so I hope you guys don't mess him up... I'm still haunted by Jamie Storr...
Anyway, the guy is so good with the puck, and can dominate the game with his big body, yet has soft hands and excellent playmaking ability... Obviously his skating needs improvement, but it makes sense for him to spend a year in the A and get a cup of coffee in the NHL before he joins your team, especially considering your cap situation and the way your top 6 is right now with or without Selanne.