After a disappointing season with the Montreal Canadiens, a change of scenery was prescribed for Ryder. Bruins' GM Peter Chiarelli decided to take a chance on the unrestricted free agent sniper this off-season, offering him a three-year $4M/year deal that Ryder could not refuse.
Coming out of the worst offensive season of his career, during which he only recorded 14 goals and 17 assists for 31 points in 70 games, Ryder has returned to his old self in Boston.
After 42 games this season, Ryder has already scored 17 goals and notched 14 assists for 31 points matching last year's totals with half the season to go. A three-time 25-goal scorer, Ryder leads the NHL with seven game-winning goals!
What's even more surprising is his plus-21 differential, which ranks him sixth in the league in a tie with teammate Zdeno Chara and Capitals' Alex Semin.
Ryder's reunion with former coach Claude Julien, who coached him with the Hull Olympiques for three seasons from 1997 to 2000, has been quite successful. Since Ryder, 28, was reunited by Julien with linesmates David Krecji and Blake Wheeler, the Bruins have been on a torrid pace. This line also boasts a combined plus-73 differential, the best in the league.
Ryder's signing gave the Bruins the scoring depth that they lacked last season, and the emergence of youngsters such as Milan Lucic, David Krecji, Phil Kessel and Blake Wheeler have complimented very well stars like Marc Savard and Zdeno Chara.
With Kessel, Sturm and Bergeron out for an extended period of time, the Bruins are counting on Michael Ryder to carry the offensive workload over the next few months.