UNIONDALE, NY – The best word to describe the reaction within the Boston Bruins dressing room upon learning that former Stanley Cup teammate Michael Ryder was traded back to a Montreal Canadiens club where his career began: “surprise.”
“That was a bit of a surprise,” said Claude Julien, who has a long history with Ryder having previously coached him with the Hull Olympiques, the Hamilton Bulldogs and the Bruins. “It will be interesting to see how that develops, but I was actually really surprised that [Ryder] is going back to Montreal.”
There were certainly indications Ryder was going to be moved this season in the last year of his deal with the Dallas Stars. The Bruins had expressed interest in bringing last year’s 35-goal scorer back to Boston, but the price was deemed too high.
The Bruins weren’t enthused about moving any pieces from their current mix of players in any deal, and Montreal was willing to deal the 34-year-old Erik Cole in exchange for Ryder. The 32-year-old Ryder was off to another solid start with Dallas this season while putting up six goals and 14 points in 19 games with the Stars before the trade happened.
One thing is certain: The Bruins know that a Habs team that has already earned Boston’s respect this year just got better by adding a player in Ryder that’s capable of creating instant offense around the net. The B’s have already faced former Cup contributors like Tomas Kaberle before, but it will be a little different for the team’s nucleus going up against a player like Ryder, who was such a big part of the championship for Boston two years ago.
Who can ever forget Ryder making the glove save in the net when Tim Thomas was out of position in the first round series against the Habs? Or how about the key playoff goals the Newfoundland native scored for the Bruins in big moments?
Now Montreal has that money playoff player on their side of things.
“He’s a good player. I’m guessing he’s going to take [Erik] Cole’s spot. I’m sure it’s going to make Montreal a better because it’s going to give them two great lines. Ryder has that sniper ability that you always need to be aware of,” said Patrice Bergeron. “It’s kind of funny. He went to Dallas and we didn’t even see him anymore. So every once in a while you’d be like ‘Oh yeah, Michael Ryder.’
“To see him a little bit more is going to be weird and we’ll just have to be more aware of him.”
Ryder’s arrival in Montreal also adds a little more spice to the Habs-Bruins rivalry for this season that already appears to be brewing as the two longtime opponents grapple against each other for first place in the Northeast Division.