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.
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.
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.