When the Dallas Stars signed Michael Ryder to a two-year, $7 million contract on the first day of free agency, Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli told ESPNBoston.com he sent a text to Ryder to wish him well and to “make sure you light up all of those Eastern Conference teams -- except us.” Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk is hoping Ryder lights up all those Western Conference teams and Boston, too.
While the overall focus of the Stars’ six free agent signings on July 1 was making the team deeper, bringing Ryder to Dallas definitely had an offensive component to it.
“He’s a goal scorer and I think that fits well with what we are trying to do,” said Nieuwendyk. “We’ve obviously lost production with the absence of Brad Richards.”
The Stars not only lost Richards, who signed with the New York Rangers but they also traded James Neal to Pittsburgh for defenseman Alex Goligoski prior to last season’s trade deadline. While Goligoski was a major boost to the Dallas defense, the Stars gave up some goal scoring. Neal ranked third in goals scored over the last three seasons for the Stars and Richards was second.
Enter Ryder, who has hit the 30-goal mark twice and scored 25 and 27 goals as well during his seven-year NHL career. In 549 NHL games he 162 goals and 172 assists.
“He’s a right shot that will give us power play presence and versatility to do things on line combinations,” Nieuwendyk said. “He’s a proven goal scorer. I think that’s his biggest asset. He thinks about scoring goals and has that quick release. He’ll be a good complement for a number of our forwards who play at the top.”
The 31-year-old’s numbers have been down the past two seasons – he’s scored 18 in 2009-10 and 2010-11 – but on a deep Boston team ice time was evenly spread out and Ryder played on what would be considered the third line. No complaints though from Ryder, who is looking forward to being more of a go to guy in Dallas.
“It was a good time there. I won a Stanley Cup, which is pretty amazing,” said Ryder. “But right now I’m happy to be going to a place where they look at me at as a game breaker, a guy that scores goals. That’s the situation I want to be in. I want to be that guy that they’re looking to when they need a goal and I am going to get out there in the situations to help offensively.”
“I played with him in the minors and in Montreal my first two years,” Ryder said. “We got along well and played together well. I don’t know what the situation is going to be like when I get there, but it’s nice to know there is somebody there that you’ve played with before.”
Ryder will come to Dallas after three years in Boston, where he had 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 49 playoff games. Seventeen of those points (8 goals, 9 assists) came in 25 games during the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run this past season.
“That’s the way the game goes. We won a Cup there and I had good times there,” Ryder said. “I have nothing bad to say. Things happen and that’s the business and sometimes you just have to move on. I am looking forward to the future and what it will hold for me.”