TORONTO – There are quite a few former members of the organization who came back to the Habs this year. Michael Ryder added his name to the list on Tuesday night.
Five years after leaving Montreal as a free agent following the 2007-08 season, Ryder is returning to the first hockey home he ever knew. Following a trade with the Stars that saw Erik Cole head to Dallas, the Canadiens’ 1998 eighth round draft pick will once again be donning the familiar bleu-blanc-rouge.
“He was shocked, but it’s a place where he’s been and where he’s had success,” explained Habs GM Marc Bergevin of the three-time 30-plus goal scorer. “He loves the city of Montreal. I told him we’re extremely happy to have him. He brings an asset to our team that I felt we could use – he’s already had success this year and last year in Dallas. He was surprised but happy.”
Bergevin’s first trade as an NHL general manager not only brings Dallas’ current scoring leader to the Habs lineup; it also includes with a third round pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
“I’m excited to be getting Michael as part of our team. He’s a sniper, he lead [Dallas] in scoring last year and he won a Stanley Cup in Boston,” explained Bergevin of the 32-year-old forward. “This is a player who will help us right away. He’s producing now, he has produced in the past, and he is going to help our power play.”
Currently scrambling to make the trek from Columbus to Toronto to reunite with his new/old teammates, Ryder could be in action in a Habs jersey as early as Wednesday night.
Despite the Canadiens’ current position at the top of the Eastern Conference, Bergevin knows there’s always room for improvement. The Habs GM is particularly looking forward to seeing what the trigger-happy winger can do for the league’s 10th-ranked power play.
“You’re always, always, always looking to make your team better. Always,” he stressed. “We’re happy to have him. He brings an asset to our team we can use. We don’t make trades on stats alone, but that was definitely a big plus. He’s already had success this year.”
Having seen Michel Therrien and Francis Bouillon’s triumphant returns to la Belle Province after leaving their first NHL gigs, Bergevin also expects to see a more seasoned veteran in Ryder this time around.
“I wasn’t here when he left Montreal, but he had success in Montreal; he had success in Boston; he had success in Dallas,” mentioned Bergevin. “No one has a crystal ball, but I don’t see why he won’t have success again back in Montreal.”
Ryder will look to extend his current point streak to seven games when he hits the Air Canada Centre ice, having racked up an incredible two goals and seven assists in his past six games.
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
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