May 9, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens right wing Michael Ryder (73) during the warm-up session before the first period against Ottawa Senators in game five of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Ryder Player Preview

Michael Ryder was one of the big acquisitions that the Devils picked up this offseason in free agency. While he may not be one of the superstars that a casual NHL fan would know, upon research of who he is as an athlete reveals something very impressive. He was drafted in 1998 by the Montreal Canadiens and responded the next year with 108 points in the QMJHL. The Canadiens saw that as plenty of reason to bring him into their organization and play in the AHL.

Apr 20, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Ryder (73) and Jeff Halpern (24) collide with Washington Capitals forward Martin Erat (10) during the third period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

His Past

Ryder started in the NHL in 2005 for the Canadiens and immediately made an impact with 55 points in 81 games. Ryder would continue to be a consistent point producer for the Canadiens. After his contract expired with Montreal, Ryder signed a 3-year, $4 million contract with the Boston Bruins. He continued blowing past the 30+ point totals for each season hitting 40+ and 50+ on two seperate seasons. During Boston’s Stanley Cup Championship run in 2011, Ryder had 17 points in 25 games.

He then signed a 2-year, $7 million contract with the Dallas Stars shortly after winning The Cup. In his first season with the Stars, he had a career-high 35 goals and totaled 62 points. The next year, he was eventually traded back to Montreal where he had 35 points in 46 total games last season.

The Devils swooped him up for a 2-year, $7 million deal to lock him up for more than next season.

Apr 18, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens right wing Michael Ryder (73) and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas (75) battle for the puck during the second period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

What to Expect

I think it’s fair to say that we can expect great things from Michael Ryder this season. He has produced consistent production and never has produced less than 30 points in a season in the NHL. He will likely be put on the second line with Ryane Clowe and Dainius Zubrus. It could also depend if the Devils want to put Zubrus at RW. If they put him at RW they might put him ahead of Ryder but I see the Clowe-Zubrus-Ryder line very likely.

The front two lines the Devils could be putting out every game look very promising. There is a lot of point production present among these 6 forwards and it should have every Devils fan quite pumped for next season. Behind them, the lines look a little shaky but there is plenty of room for a young player to have a big season much like Henrique had a couple of years ago.

Stay tuned to Pucks and Pitchforks for more Player Previews coming soon! Remember to follow Pucks and Pitchforks on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

Tags: Boston Bruins Dallas Stars Michael Ryder Montreal Canadiens New Jersey Devils

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