“Michael Ryder‘s tenure with the Boston Bruins could be coming to an end, as the club has made it known to teams throughout the National Hockey League that the veteran winger is available for trade.“
Although Ryder is statistically and figuratively the most logical choice to be on the block, the news is somewhat surprising to me, considering he is known to be one of the “favorites” amongst the Bruins’ coaching staff.
An obvious choice to clear cap-space, as the 29-year-old is playing in his second season of a three-year, $12MM contract. With just under $2MM salary remaining for this year, plus an additional $4MM for the 2010-11 season, the obvious question would be; what team is willing to take on this type of salary?
To be a little more clear, and precise: what willing GM, in their right mind, would rightfully trade for this particular player’s salary? Signed on Jul. 1, 2008, Ryder was brought in with the expectations of being a 30-goal scorer once again – a feat in which he accomplished in back-to-back season [2005-07] with the Montreal Canadiens. The under-achieving Ryder, despite playing all 54 games this season, has posted just 20 points this season – ninth-best on the team – with a mere 12 goals.
After scoring 55-or-more points in three of his four seasons in Montreal, Ryder managed to put up 27-26-53 in 74 games played for Boston last season, yet has continued to under-perform – even under former, and current head coach, Claude Julien.
The Bruins have just under $41MM of salary-cap payroll for the 2010-11 season, according to hockeybuzz.com. With the a number of players approaching free-agency on Jul. 1, the $4MM clear of Ryder’s salary would be huge for the possible re-signings of RFA’s Mark Stuart, Blake Wheeler, and Johnny Boychuk; and UFA’s Derek Morris and Mark Recchi [if he decides to play another season].
The question still remains: who will roll-the-dice and gamble with the trade of the high-risk high-reward Ryder? Whoever it may be, Bruins’ general manager Peter Chiarelli should prepare himself now for a low return.