Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Looking Forward: Will Ryder Be Back?
Looking Forward will be a multi-part series this offseason that will serve to address the Bruins offseason moves, trades, free agent signings and how the team uses the salary cap. Part 1 will discuss the always polarizing Michael Ryder.
Throughout his career in Boston, he has been somewhat of an enigma. A former Montreal Canadien, Ryder has spent the last three seasons in Boston. His best year was in 2008-09, scoring 27 goals and registering 53 points. However in the last two seasons, Bruins fans have seen his production during the regular season decrease, scoring just 33 and 41 points in 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively.
Ryder is currently an unrestricted free agent, meaning that he is free to negotiate with any team, including the Bruins. Before the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup Championship Run (yes, it still feels good to say), most B's fans would have felt comfortable letting the right winger walk, especially with his four million dollar price tag. But given Ryder's resurgence in the postseason and the Bruins' cap flexibility, the front office may explore resigning the sniper.
Ryder was a major contributor in the playoffs both this season and last. In fact, in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs, his 17 points and eight goals were almost half of his regular season totals. Ryder has admitted that he raises his level of play in the playoffs, which is a major concern. However he came up huge for the B's this year on offense and defense, including his ridiculous glove save against Montreal. Considering the Bruins' bright future, Ryder can be key to the team's sustained success but at what price?
One possible issue would be Ryder's previous contract, which paid him four million dollars per year for the last three seasons. Although the Bruins are currently 12 million dollars under the cap, I don't forsee a situation where the Bruins would bring Ryder back into the fold for anything less than 2.5 million per year.
This begs the question, will Ryder accept that offer? Or will the Bruins even make an offer? It is unlikely that any team in the NHL would give Ryder the four million per year that he was used to making so he might be forced to take a hometown discount. Should negotiations turn ugly, the Bruins have more than enough ammo to get Ryder to see things their way.
Yes, Ryder would be welcomed back for the right price, as he would lend stability to the lineup and help fill the void at wing left by Mark Recchi's retirement. However it seems that he needs the Bruins more than they need him.
Should Ryder come back next year? How much would you sign him for? Any free agent alternatives? Let me know in the comment section.