Ryan Potunly was born September 5, 1984 in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The third round, 87th overall selection of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Potulny is a graduate of the USHL's Lincoln Stars.
An offensively skilled forward, Potulny enrolled at the University of Minnesota in 2003-04 and went on to play three seasons with the Golden Gophers before opting to forego his senior year to sign with the Flyers. In his three seasons at Minnesota, the Grand Forks native registered 118 points (68-50-118).
Immediately following the Golden Gophers elimination from the 2006 NCAA post season, Potulny made his NHL debut with the Flyers.
On June 6, 2008 Potulny was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in exchage for Danny Syvret.
He would split time between the Oilers and their AHL affiliate during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons before signing with the Chicago Blackhawks on September 9, 2010 as an unrestricted free agent.
Potulny would spend the majority of the 2010-11 season with Blackhawks' AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs before being dealt at the NHL trade deadline. He was shipped to the Ottawa Senators, along with a second round draft pick, in exchange for defenseman Chris Campoli.
In the summer of 2011 Ryan was on the move again. This time as an unrestricted free agent he signed on with the Washington Capitals.