May 31st, 2013 | By | Category: Canadiens, Latest News


ryderAnyone who entertained the thought that somehow Michael Ryder was going to remain a member of the Canadiens had no grasp of the reality of the situation from the very outset.

It wasn’t that Michael Ryder was a total bust as a member of the Canadiens, although his playoff disappearance might further define the world “disappointment.”  Michael Ryder did what the Canadiens wanted of him.  He scored ten goals and twenty-one points in 27 regular season games.  He came to the Canadiens on the verge of his third career unrestricted free agency in return for Erik Cole who has is going hit the Dallas Stars salary cap for 4.5 million dollars for each of the two remaining years in his contract.   Not only was Cole an inherited millstone for general manager Marc Bergevin but he was playing badly and continued to do so for Dallas with 6 goals and an assist in 28 games.

What Ryder didn’t bring was defensive responsibility on a regular basis.  He was minus-2 in his 28 games even while playing for the most part with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta neither of whom will ever be accused of shirking their defensive duties.  There are also issues of his speed which is average at best      While the Canadiens would like get a little more size among their forwards, they don’t want to commit long term to size while sacrificing the speed that has been the hallmark of Canadiens teams for decades.

Ryder came to the Canadiens in the final year of a pro-rated 3.5 million dollar annual contract.  An argument could be made that a Canadiens contract like that might be a fair deal  on a short term basis.  But, the last time Ryder played a full season he scored 35 goals.  He was on track for close to 30 goals again this season had things not been short circuited by the lockout.

So what we have is an unrestricted free agent who has three 30-goal seasons in his background; is an average skater, has size that he doesn’t use to his advantage and has a tendancy to take the night off every once in a while.   For all of the above, there will be NHL general managers who will offer a four or five year contract at 5 million or more per season.

Marc Bergevin won’t be one of them for most of the above reasons.

In six months with three deft moves, Marc Bergevin will have managed to clean up the residue of the Gainey/Gauthier era  by first buying out  Scott Gomez, trading Cole and in two weeks buying out Tomas Kaberle, thus taking an annual 16.1 million dollars off their salary cap.



  1. C’mon this is an unfair hatchet job on Michael Ryder and stating that someone will be offering him a 4 or 5 yr. deal at $5M makes no sense whatsoever. Last I checked is that he is 33 yrs. old and he will likely get a decent two year offer elsewhere. Not a bad deal at all. As for the deft moves; these were all no-brainers in these days of salary caps and didn’t take very much imagination to complete. I noticed that you didn’t mention that the team is or was still on the hook for millions of dollars in buyouts for Gomez and Kaberle. You have to factor that into the economic discussion of the team. What’s next? A hatchet job on Yannick Weber?

  2. reusch says:

    Hi Marc
    Michael Ryder is what he is, warts and all. His skill set doesn’t fit the kind of team the Canadiens aspire to be. There is one thing that is indisputable; those thirty goal seasons. How many players who have multiple 30 goal seasons, especially those under the age of 35, will be available free agents on July 6th? Ryder will get a very nice contract. Just not in Montreal.

  3. Thanks for the response back. I guess it is true that some GM out there may offer some crazy contract. Sather did it with Gomez and Rutherford did with Kaberle. I do think the Habs need to change a bit more than Michael Ryder to be a team that aspires to be more.

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