The New Jersey Devils have boosted their forward ranks with free agent signings, including a veteran scoring winger.
Numbers Game looks at the Devils' acquisition of Michael Ryder.
The Devils Get: RW Michael Ryder.
Ryder, 33, is a five-time 20-goal scorer who tallied 16 goals and 35 points in 46 games last season; his best per-game point production since his rookie season, 2003-2004. His 213 goals ranks 27th since 2003-2004.
While Ryder can find the net, he doesn't stand out otherwise. He has played more than 17 minutes per game once in his career. His recent goal-scoring surge, 51 in 128 games over the last two seasons, tied for 11th, is due to an elevated shooting percentage. Over the last two seasons, Ryder has scored on 16.3% of his shots, fifth-best in the league, but that followed two seasons when he finished on 10.1% of his shots, and his career mark is up to 12.8%, so regression lurks around the corner.
Montreal added Ryder part way through last season, in exchange for Erik Cole, gaining future financial flexibility by shedding Cole's contract, but they received good production from Ryder (10 goals, 21 points in 27 games).
Having signed Danny Briere as a free agent, the Canadiens have effectively found a player that they deem to be Ryder's replacement. Briere signed for two years and $8-million with Montreal while Ryder has signed a two-year, $7-million deal with the Devils.
Even with some falling back, Ryder should be a productive contributor for the Devils, playing in a top-six scoring role and provided that he's with players that can get him the puck, say on the wing with Patrik Elias and either Travis Zajac or Adam Henrique in the middle, but it shouldn't be shocking if Ryder's production could be more in the 18-to-23-goal range for the next couple seasons.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.