July 1, 2011

Chiarelli: Offer wasn't really in the cards for Ryder

by Jesse Connolly

Michael Ryder will head to the Stars with four seasons of 20-plus goals on his resume. (Getty)

Before the start of the playoffs this spring, many thought winger Michael Ryder was a guaranteed goner on July 1.

The streakiest Bruin finished the regular season as cold as ice, scoring just a single goal over his final 17 games. But after elevating his level of play for the third-straight postseason, doing so in a fashion better than ever before with eight goals and nine assists in 25 playoff contests for the Stanley Cup champs and making a ton of contributions in his own end to boot, suddenly everyone hoped the Newfoundland native was back in Black and Gold next fall.

Much to their chagrin, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli professed that he would allow both Ryder and fellow unrestricted free agent Tomas Kaberle test the market on Friday, and it didn't take long for the situation to be resolved. Ryder inked a two-year deal with the Dallas Stars, a contract that will pay him $3.5 million each year.

"In the three years we had him, he was really good in the postseason," Chiarelli said. "So that’s going to be an area I hope that the (current) group (is capable of) inheriting some of that responsibility if we don’t bring in someone else. The timely scoring is something that I’ve liked what I’ve seen with the rest of the group."

Ryder, who finished his tenure in Boston with 127 points in 235 regular-season games and 35 more in 49 playoff contests, received nothing but well-wishes from the Bruins GM.

"I talked to Mike, or I texted him, and I wished him well, and I said make sure you light up all of those Eastern Conference teams except us," Chiarelli quipped. "At the end of the day, he provided us with good service when we needed it and you’re right, it’s going to be something that we’re going to have to replace. But I like the growth of our guys, and our forward group and I feel confident that they can effectively replace that."

Chiarelli reiterated that he hadn't already cut ties with Ryder before the day began, but sounded as though no formal offer was ever made to the 31-year-old winger.

"Rydes got a good deal, so good for him," he said. "I didn’t necessarily have an offer to make. I had arranged my mind and I just wanted to see how the market unfolded."

In the meantime, Boston has retained goaltender Anton Khudobin -- acquired from Minnesota in Feb. -- as well as veteran forward Trent Whitfield. Kaberle, meanwhile, has yet to agree to terms with any club.

"I’ve had a few discussions today with him and that’s where I’ll leave it," Chiarelli said of his dealings with the free-agent defenseman. "But I have had a couple of discussions and again, I’m not ruling out re-signing Tomas."