Monday, January 21, 2008

Ryder All Over the Place

Sometimes work gets a little busy and I even have to miss a daily fix of Habs blog reading and Canadiens headline watching at lunch.

Turning to the Canadiens news just now, I am a bit surprised to see that Ryder is the most talked about Canadiens player on this day.

Perhaps, I wouldn't be surprised if this were any other year, as I can remember a few Michael Ryder goal bursts in the cold month of January. But we all know this has been a new year for Ryder...


The promotion

Habs Inside/Out carries the good news for Ryder. He has been reunited with Saku Koivu and Chris Higgins for at least 32 seconds to start the game on Tuesday. Following his step back onto the bench, it's anybody's guess with who, when if or how he will play again. My prediction is that if he doesn't score in the first period he'll be back on a lower line (based on his shots this season that gives him less than a shot to do it). Come on Mikey!

Again, there's news behind the news here: Sergei Kostitsyn is returning to Hamilton soon. Well, at least if Ryder gets a prolonged chance he will. In my opinion Sergei is not a player that will thrive with two slow linemates or with a defensive mandate. He may try, but he won't last. Of course, he may be safe if #73 plays the role of first-half Ryder.

In other hidden news, Gainey and Carbonneau start to feel dizzy with too much scoring - throwing away the three scoring line strategy.


The trade

IN a second piece of "news" (No? Well let's just say a second piece then, shall we?), Eklund declares that Ryder is attracting loads of interest on the trade market.

I can almost buy the Ryder rumour, but the rumour about there being a trade coming up? Now that's a bit hard to swallow after 197 consecutive days guaranteeing a move.

Personally, if I were inventing rumours to attract fans of all the big markets, I would look for the equivalent of Sundin on the Canadiens, rather than a player on pace to have his worst goalscoring season ever being sold as a playoff rental (as he has no contract). For me, Ryder may very well get traded, but let's not think we should be excited about what we might get in return. If there is a forward prospect in the Calgary system half as exciting as Josh Gorges was at this time last year, then that is the player we will get. But, really I don't see what Ryder for Ryder really accomplishes...

Plus, trading Ryder would go against all logic in the "manufactured" parity era: trading for an underperforming player with quite a large salary. The fact that nobody is picking up underachievers as they yoyo up and down through waivers does not seem to phase the rumour mongerer from Philly. Though Colorado used to think they could turn any Hab career gone awry around no matter what the price, even they would shy from Ryder as a project.

From the Habs point of view, if they like Ryder (and they have always spoken and acted as if they do), why not be the ones to take a chance on him next year at a home-town discount?


And trades? I wouldn't look much further than the man Ryder replaced as prime Habs trade bait. For Sergei Kostitsyn has not only played well, but also carries the tag of untested potential - and that, unlike underachievers, is something that's actually in demand in this league.

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