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It was a busy first day in the NHL free agency period, and it started with a splash for the Bruins, who lost winger Michael Ryder to the Dallas Stars. They did pick up another former Canadien though, signing 24-year-old Benoit Pouliot to a one-year, $1.1 million deal.
Ryder signed a two-year, $7 million deal with Dallas, which is just a little less than he made in Boston ($4 million salary). Remember, there’s no state income tax in Texas, so the difference in money is minimal.
Ryder played well in the postseason for the B’s, collecting eight goals and nine assists (17 points) with a +8 and one incredible glove save during the Canadiens series. He always seemed to step up in the playoffs, scoring four goals against the Canadiens in the four-game sweep of his former team in 2009.
“Rides got a good deal, so good for him,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a conference call with reporters. “I texted him and I wished him well and I told him, ‘Make sure you light up all those Eastern Conference teams, except for us’.”
Despite his playoff success, Ryder’s regular seasons in Boston left a lot to be desired. A two-time 30-goal scorer when he signed with the B’s, Ryder only came close to that total once (27 goals in his first year), but finished with just 18 in each of the last two seasons.
Pouliot set career highs with 17 assists, 30 points, and 83 penalty minutes last season for the Habs. He also collected 13 goals and should fit in with the team’s third and fourth lines.
“We like his skill. We like his size. We think he’ll fit in with our team,” Chiarelli said. “We’re hoping that he could buy into what we’re selling. I like his size, I like his skating and I like his shot.”
Pouliot was the fourth overall pick in the 2005 draft by the Minnesota Wild. He played his first four years in Minnesota before catching on in Montreal for the last two seasons. He scored a career-best 15 goals in the 2009-10 season with the Habs.