Boston, MA --
The Black & Gold truly got their man when Newfoundland native Michael Ryder signed on the dotted line late Tuesday evening.
It was just about 10 p.m. when Peter Chiarelli finally spoke on a conference call with the Boston media – a conference call that was originally slotted to begin at 6 p.m.
“I’d just like to announce that we’ve signed Michael Ryder to a multi-year contract,” said a satisfied sounding Chiarelli. “He’s a right-winger formerly of the Montreal Canadiens.
“He has a terrific shot, is very strong on the puck, plays a gritty game and he’s someone that we’ve targeted for a while, and we’re fortunate to get him.
“It was a long drawn out process that started shortly after noon…Cam Neely helped out and Claude (Julien) helped out; Claude has a long history with Michael starting out in Juniors going to the American Hockey League and to Montreal.”
That team effort was very important in terms of recruiting the young man to come to New England.
“We talked about what we’re doing, and he liked the way we played during the year, despite the fact that (the Canadiens) waxed us at the beginning,” said a frank B’s GM. “He liked the way that we played and recognized our deficiency in goal scoring and that is one of his stronger points, obviously.
“He likes the city, likes to stay east and obviously Claude played a big factor with his relationship with him -- they have a real good relationship of trust.
“Cam spoke about the city and the emergence of the Bruins, that we are trying to turn this thing around and (how) we feel that we are making positive steps. He’s seen that firsthand, and he liked what he saw, so those are some of the big factors of him joining the organization.”
The 6-0, 186 pound Newfoundland native had spent his entire four-year NHL career playing in Montreal, where he recorded 99 goals and 108 assists in 314 games -- 46 of those 99 goals came on the power play.
| In this Oct. 3, 2007, file photo, Montreal Canadiens' Michael Ryder controls the puck during an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C. The Boston Bruins have signed Ryder. Ryder signed a multiyear contract Tuesday, July 1, 2008, after spending all four of his NHL seasons with the Canadiens. |
Ryder had back-to-back 30 goal seasons and led Montreal in goals scored (30 apiece) for both the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, during which he finished the years with totals of 58 and 55 points, respectively. Points-wise, his best season came in his first year in 2003-04, where he played in 81 games and notched 25 goals and 38 assists for 63 points and was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team.
Last season, Ryder tallied 14-17-31 totals while playing in 70 games for the Canadiens. He also appeared in four playoff contests for the team during the most recent postseason.
Questions about the points drop off were inevitable.
“I characterize it as him being in the dog house,” said Chiarelli, who had clearly expected the question. “We’ve talked about it with Michael and his agent and (we saw) from afar what was going on.
“I don’t know what to attribute that to…every time we played them and they played (Ryder), he was dangerous.
“He’s a player that I feel has very strong potential to continue scoring at the level that he has been scoring in the past; he’s had two 30-goal years and he’s a guy who obviously has a history with Claude.”
Chiarelli was also asked where Ryder fit into the Boston lineup and whether the new forward relished an opportunity to continue in the Montreal/Boston rivalry.
“Obviously he is a player we coveted and one that we think will make our team better,” he said, “and we have him up on my board now, and Claude left here a happy man.
“He plays both sides (wings), and he gives us flexibility, but he’s probably more of a natural right-winger.”
“(As far as the rivalry) you’ll have to ask him, but I’m going to assume, based on our discussions, that he would like to be on our side of it.”