Despite an impressive season that saw them go from the bottom of the Eastern Conference to the no. 2 seed and a Northeast Division title, this is expected to be a busy summer for the Montreal Canadiens. In need of a few adjustments to their playoff roster, they’ll be an active team this summer.
They’ll also be needing to replace a key free agent veteran that they have no intention of bringing back: Michael Ryder. After an impressive second tenure with the Habs, it has already become clear that the two sides intend to part ways this summer, rather than work out a new deal.
Ryder was swapped for Erik Cole early in the season, despite Cole having played just one year with the team. He went on to have a much more productive season than Cole, finishing with 21 points in 27 games during this shortened season. Despite that total, which includes 10 goals, he won’t be back in Montreal next year.
Part of what made Ryder a more attractive piece than Cole was the fact that he was a free agent at the end of the year. So the fact that they’re not bringing him back isn’t really any sort of surprise to anyone. This was pretty much always the ending that was going to take place.
The Habs need to get under the salary cap, which is coming down next season. Ryder carried a $3.5 million cap hit in 2013. After proving to be a very productive player, on top of the fact that he passed the 30-goal mark in the full 2011-2012 season, he could see a raise.
Which is something that the Canadiens just can’t afford to give him. He’ll go on to find a job relatively quickly. It will be interesting to see how Marc Bergevin plans on replacing the veteran forward heading into next season, as it will almost certainly have to come from within.