As of writing this post on October 5th, Nick Ritchie still does not have a contract with the Anaheim Ducks and I believe the question deserves to be asked. What is he doing?
If you don’t know, Nick Ritchie is currently a restricted free agent who is in a contract negotiation standstill with the Anaheim Ducks.
Nick has not lived up to his 10th overall draft pick hype so far in his career. He has 26 goals, 33 assists, 59 points and 171 PIM in 186 games at the NHL level. So not great, but also not terrible. I’m not here ranting to say Ritchie is an awful player or anything like that because I don’t think that’s true. Sure, he has trouble staying out of the box but he can score goals and I think he will get better as he matures, but what do you need to do to mature? PLAY THE GAME!!!! So there arises the question, what is he waiting for?
Sign a bridge deal for around 2 million AAV and prove to the Ducks that you deserve more money when your next contract comes around and you have arbitration rights. All that is happening right now is the Ducks front office is watching all of these young rookies come in and play an effective game at the NHL level which in turn is making Ritchie a less crucial part of the team. Especially with all of the injuries to veteran wingers on the team, this would be the perfect time to step in and show how he can produce in their absence. They opportunity is right there in front of him but for some reason him and his agents are not taking advantage of it.
Now obviously, I am not in the negotiation room with them and I do not know what the Ducks are offering him. Hell, maybe they are offering him a 2-way contract or something like that. In which case, hell yeah, fight it. But I seriously doubt that is what is happening here.
Moral of the story here is I feel bad for Ritchie. He is a strong player that has shown in flashes that he can play but because of contract negotiations he is being held out of the line up during a time where the Ducks could really use him and he could really prove himself to the team. Personally, I hope to see him out on the ice sooner than later and I hope he comes in looking strong and with a chip on his shoulder to prove to the organization he deserves more.
Side note, I can’t wait to post this and then have Ritchie sign his contract 2 hours later.