A call from out of the Blues

Andrew Ryan went undrafted last weekend, but that doesn’t mean he’s unwanted

Published on June 30, 2012
Andrew Ryan of Paradise checks out the skate display at SportChek in the Village Mall in St. John’s. Ryan, a forward for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Halifax Mooseheads, has been invited to the rookie training camp of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues this September. — Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

After being passed over in last weekend’s National Hockey League Entry Draft, Andrew Ryan might have had reason to sing the blues.

Now, he’s singing the Blues’ praises.

Just hours after draft ended, the 18-year-old Paradise native got a call from a St. Louis Blues’ scout inviting him to the NHL team’s rookie training camp this September.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity because this season didn’t really turn out the way I wanted it to,” says Ryan, who plays for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Halifax Mooseheads.  

“This gives me the chance to still get an NHL camp under my belt, and I still have the chance to get back in the draft next year.”

Ryan’s 2011-2012 season went awry right out of the gate when he broke his ankle during the Mooseheads’ training camp. The injury left him sidelined for nearly three months.

“I was probably in the best shape of my life, I worked hard all summer training five days a week. For that to happen, it wasn’t easy to swallow,” says Ryan. “It made me feel like it was all for nothing.”

When he did get back on the ice, he found he had lost some of the speed and cardio strength he had worked so hard to build over the summer months.

As a result of a long recovery process, Ryan’s whole game suffered and it took him longer to produce the offence he knew he was capable of ­delivering. The sluggish start also led to a dramatic drop in his draft stock. He was listed 64th among North American-based skaters when NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings were released. However, when the final ranks came out, he had plummeted to 109th.

That said, Ryan, who felt honoured to be still be ranked, had him prepared for the worst.

“I wasn’t having a good stretch of games between the two rankings, so I knew there was definitely a possibility my stock might have dropped.

“Once I was back, it took me a good while to get my stride back again.”

The six-foot-two, 205-pound left-winger is back in the gym with trainer Ryan Power again this summer with the same game plan as last year — building strength and become quicker and more agile.