“A true hard guy is someone who stands up for someone who can do absolutely nothing for them.”
After winning national championships with his minor hockey team, the Los Angeles Junior Kings, he initially committed to playing for the U.S. National Under-18 Program. Despite telling Ontario Hockey League (OHL) teams he would not play major junior, Ryan was selected by the Owen Sound Attack 7th overall in the 2003 OHL Selection Draft. He was convinced to play for the team and immediately began his major junior career with a 39-point rookie campaign in 2003–04. After improving to 89 points the following season, Ryan was drafted second overall by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
Ryan closed out his OHL career after the 2006–07 season. Upon elimination in the playoffs, he was assigned by the Ducks to the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League (AHL) for the final 8 games of the AHL season. Ryan then started the 2007–08 season with the Ducks, scoring his first NHL goal in his debut against the Los Angeles Kings at The O2 arena in London, England. Ryan was, however, sent back to the AHL to Portland after 4 games. He was recalled on March 7, 2008, when Corey Perry’s leg injury sidelined him for the remainder of the regular season.
In the following 2008–09 season, Ryan once again made the opening roster, but was to be sent down to the Ducks’ new AHL affiliate, the Iowa Chops, due to salary cap issues. He was called up during the season and recorded a natural hat trick, the first hat trick of his NHL career, on January 8, 2009, against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center during a 4-3 loss. He became the first rookie in Ducks history to record a hat trick, and it was the fastest hat trick by any player in the 15-year history of the franchise. On March 22, 2009, he broke the franchise rookie point record set by Dustin Penner, tallying 2 assists for 46th point of the year in a win against the Phoenix Coyotes.
On April 22, 2009, was named a finalist for the Calder Trophy, along with Steve Mason from the Columbus Blue Jackets and Kris Versteeg from the Chicago Blackhawks. His linemates are Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.
On September 14, 2010, the Ducks signed Ryan to a five-year contract worth $25.5 million. On December 12th, 2010, during a game against the Minnesota Wild, left-handed captain Mikko Koivu stole Ryan’s stick while in the Ducks’ offensive zone. Right-handed Ryan scooped up Koivu’s stick and promptly buried the puck in the net. This was named #1 on TSN SportsCentre’s “NHL Oddities”.