Life was more than good for Michael Ryder after this past summer. Posting a career high in all categories during the Boston Bruins' playoff run of destiny, and winning the Stanley Cup in the process, Ryder found himself as a valuable asset for the highest bidder over the summer.
Too bad that the "highest bidder" had to look back over the past few seasons and see a few amazing seasons followed by a stretch of several subpar seasons where Ryder fell off his game completely. The Dallas Stars ended up bidding $3.5 million for the capable scoring forward that they so desperately needed.
Ryder and his agent agreed with those terms, and he signed a two-year pact worth $7 million total, taking a pay cut from his salary of $12 million for the past three years in Boston.
The signing seemed interesting on the surface, because anyone could have told you that the Stars are more than two years away from becoming dominant contenders in the Western Conference, meaning it would require another signing to keep him here in better times.
The former 8th round pick in the 1998 draft has proven himself to be the top six forward that the Stars have been coveting since the departure of Brad Richards over the summer. He is obviously not the same player he was at a rookie, but he is just as valuable.
Not many players in the league possess a blistering wrist shot.
Consider this: Ryder is 31 years old, in his prime, and producing at an inconsistent rate in his past several seasons as a Bruin. As a top six forward on the Stars, Ryder could be on pace for almost 60 points, half of them goals. He has not achieved that sort of success for some time.
For the Stars to contend, they need a consistent scoring punch to not only succeed, but thrive. Teams would love to have a 30 goal scorer for the low price that the Stars have one. Some teams could have coveted Ryder at the trade deadline, but Joe Nieuwendyk stayed the course.
The even smarter move would be to extend Michael Ryder's contract and keep him in Big D. He brings playoff experience to the table. He knows what it takes to win at both ends of the ice. That is a quality that not many scorers have.
Assets like that at a mid-level price do not come around every day.
The Ryder Renaissance has begun, and it can only continue, should the Stars deem him worthy. Sign this man.