Ahead of Monday's preseason opener with the Maple Leafs, right-winger Bobby Ryan spoke to TSN's Brent Wallace about his "nightmare" 2016-17 season.
When asked for a few words to describe last year, Ryan responded with "Nightmare, you don't need more than one really. It was a tough year for me through injuries and never really getting into a flow. It was a tough regular season, it tested me in a lot of ways."
In 62 games during the regular season, Ryan had 13 goals and 12 assists. Both were his lowest totals in a non-lockout year since he debuted with the Ducks in 2007-08 when he played just 23 games.
He picked it up in the postseason, scoring six goals and adding nine assists in 19 games and Ryan said that performance helped give him some confidence going into the off-season.
"To play some bigger minutes down the stretch and be relied upon left me knowing that I'm still capable of it. You forget it when you are going through stretches like I went through. It was uplifting that's for sure."
The 30-year-old is the Senators' highest-paid player with a cap hit of $7.25 million through the 2021-22 season.
"Bobby went through a tough year last year and there is a lot of personal stuff in there and that's nobody's business, including me, but he worked really hard at taking care of his personal life and free his mind really," head coach Guy Boucher said Monday. "By the end of the year, I thought he was great and in the playoffs he was outstanding and I knew he could get there.
"He came in in terrific shape. This year is the best he's ever been plus, I know what he is about and what he can do and what he has showed is a great hockey player. He is free minded, he is in great shape and I think that is exactly where we want him to be to start the year."
Ryan is a three-time 30-goal scorer but hasn't eclipsed the mark since 2012. He has crossed the 20-goal mark in two of his four seasons since joining the Senators in 2013.