Boston Bruins forward Michael Ryder used last season as a platform to disprove the theories emanating from his former team in Montreal that he was an unmotivated, one-dimensional player. Ryder made his case loud and clear with a 27-goal regular season and five more scores in the playoffs.
Now that he’s silenced the critics on the outside, he can go back to worrying about satisfying his personal desire to get better.
“I just think for me personally, I’ve just got to try to get better every year. You can’t change your game, you’ve just got to go out and make sure you get better at it. That’s how you get to be a better player,” said Ryder today after his off-ice testing on the first day of training camp in Wilmington, Mass.
Offseason tidbit: Ryder honed his golf game this summer and is now down to a 3 handicap.
Position battle: With Phil Kessel a holdout and seemingly destined for another team, there’s an opening on Marc Savard’s right wing that might be the perfect landing spot for Ryder. His favorite centerman from a year ago, David Krejci, might not be available to start the season, so Ryder will have to find some quick chemistry with someone else to avoid getting off to a slow start. Ryder will also be competing for a spot on one of the top two power-play units.
Projection: With Kessel all but gone, the Bruins are going to need Ryder to at least reach 30 goals. That should be achievable if he can avoid the early season slump he suffered through last fall.