37-Year-Old Right Wing – Free Agent
Michael Ryder Contract Information:
Became an unrestricted free agent in July 2015.
Ryder picked up an assist in Tuesday's 2-0 win over the Penguins.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Michael Ryder.
One of two Newfoundland natives brought to the team last season, Ryder was a picture of frustration for the Devils. His 18 goals were near the top of the team’s scoring chart, but the fact that he had just two goals from Jan. 12 until the end of the season was disconcerting, considering he was acquired to boost the team’s scoring output. Ryder used to be a lock for 30 goals and was usually a value in the middle rounds, but he will have to prove himself after a woefully inconsistent campaign on one of the league’s worst offensive teams. The Devils will use him as a top-six forward; you should exercise better judgment on your fantasy roster.
Ryder arrives in New Jersey playing for his third team in two seasons. During his more productive seasons, Ryder cracked 30 goals on three separate occasions and posted a respectable 35 points in 46 games between Dallas and Montreal last year. The Devils will be counting on him to shoot the puck often. Whether Ryder will duplicate some of his success in New Jersey is a risk the Devils -- and fantasy owners alike -- will have to take, but his value will be a bit higher in leagues that count shots on goal and power-play time. Ryder could be a decent late-round gamble on draft day, just don't expect a huge season from the veteran.
Ryder proved to be a bargain last season, racking up 35 goals in his first season with the Stars. Twenty-eight of his 35 tallies came at even-strength, so it's not like he did all his scoring with the team up a man. He’ll play alongside either Jamie Benn or Derek Roy on one of two scoring lines for the Stars, though a small step back to the 25-goal, 50-point level wouldn't come as a surprise.
Ryder was signed in the offseason to bring scoring punch to a lineup that lost Brad Richards. He's eclipsed the 20-goal mark just once in the past four years, however, though his past relationship with Mike Ribeiro from their days in Montreal should have Ryder skating on the Ribeiro line along with Brenden Morrow.
Ryder, who had 27 goals and 53 points in his first season in black and gold, struggled with his consistency in 2009-10, finishing with just 18 goals and 33 points in 82 games. When he is on, Ryder can be determined with the puck in the offensive zone, making it hard to take it away from him when he has a full head of steam going. He also can fire the puck well, but as effective as he can be, Ryder's production/compete level doesn't always match his cap hit of $4 million, making him a candidate to be dealt or even demoted to the minors to free up some needed cap room for the team. His ceiling is 30-plus goals, but this year his floor could be a ticket to AHL Providence if one of the B's younger, cheaper forwards outplays him in training camp.
Boston's gamble that Ryder would return to form after he washed out with the Canadiens certainly paid off, as he finished the regular season with 27 goals (second on the team) and 53 points in 74 games, while recording a plus-28 rating. Ryder came to town known for a quick release and didn't disappoint on that front. Where he has opened some eyes is how determined he can be with the puck in the offensive zone and how hard it is to take it away from him when he has a full head of steam going. He figures to continue to see work with the first-unit power play and should hit the 30-goal mark if he can stay healthy.
There was talk that the Bruins might pursue Marian Hossa this offseason, but when that plan hit the $kids, the team moved in on Ryder, who between juniors and the NHL has played six seasons under coach Claude Julien. After back-to-back 30-goal campaigns with the Canadiens, Ryder never got going in 2007-08 and ended up with 14 goals and 17 assists in 70 games. He hit rock bottom in the playoffs and was a healthy scratch for all but four games. The B's, who so often struggled to put the puck in the net last year, are counting on a Ryder revival and he figures get plenty of power-play ice time with which to accomplish that.
Playing out his contract, look for Ryder to post his usual 30 goals and 60 points but also expect an ugly plus-minus number. If your league counts power-play goals bump him up a bit on your cheat sheet as he scores the majority of his goals with the man advantage.
Ryder is a 30-goal scorer playing on the Canadiens' first line. His linemates, set-up man Saku Koivu and corner-man Chris Higgins, complement him perfectly. Ryder is the guy in the slot, like Hull or Bossy, that rips it with both speed and accuracy. As long as Koivu stays healthy, always a concern, Ryder should have another 30-goal and 60+ point season.
Ryder signed a one-year contract after a stellar first season in the NHL. The Newfoundland native will try to avoid the sophomore jinx - although his tough and aggressive style doesn’t really make him a candidate to waffle in ‘05. He could approach 30 goals if he can stay healthy and continue to be the right winger on the second line. Power play production will be key if Ryder wants to become an upper echelon player.