The New Jersey Devils have, unsurprisingly, been among the more active teams in free agency, as well as out on the trade market, since the offseason began. They’ve signed some high priced talent and have shed some dead weight on the roster in order to free up some extra cash. Oh yeah, they acquired their goaltender of the future as well, in Cory Schneider.
One of the more intriguing additions for the Devils so far in free agency wasn’t their big prize, as signing Ryane Clowe will likely blow up in their faces if his recent injury history is any indication. The signing to keep an eye, however, is going to be that of forward Michael Ryder.
Ryder very well could have gotten more than the two years and $3.5 million he accepted with the Devils, which is part of what makes this such an excellent signing. A team in need of help on the offensive end picks up a guy who knows how to put the puck in the net at a more than reasonable price.
He’ll turn 34 towards the end of next season, but still has plenty of game left. He’s just one year removed from a season in which he scored 35 goals, the best of his career, before following up with 16 split between two different clubs this year. Part of the reason he was signed was to soften the blow of losing David Clarkson.
In fact, having Ryder in the fold should easily be more economical for the Devils than re-signing Clarkson would have been. He’s just as capable of putting up the same type of goal scoring numbers, only he’s done it over a longer period of time. He doesn’t play the physical game that Clarkson does, but that’s what Clowe is for.
Given the market, a $3.5 million cap hit over the next two years is fantastic value for what Ryder will bring to the table. He’ll bring another veteran presence to the locker room, as well as a serious ability to find the back of the net. This was a great get for the New Jersey Devils.