Ryder might benefit from Moulson signing/By S. Bradley

Rumored some weeks ago to be on the trading block and possibly in the Bruins’ crosshairs, winger Matt Moulson today ended all speculation.

The former 30-goal-scorer, who was ticketed for unrestricted free agency next summer, instead re-upped with the New York Islanders today. The story was broken by Newsday, but that publication requires a subscription to read its stories, so you can read more at NHL.com.

Moulson’s deal is for three years and a reported $9 million. While he might’ve been a solid pick-up for the Bruins or any contending team, he would’ve come at a prohibitive cost in terms of a trade.

Combined with the re-signing of Alexander Semin with Washington, Moulson’s new deal continues to thin the 2011 UFA forward pool. That’s great news for players like Simon Gagne, Jussi Jokinen and even Bruins winger Michael Ryder.

Think about it: Ryder’s on pace to score about 25 goals on a team that should finish in the top half of its conference. Although he probably won’t be able to match the $4 million per year he got out of the Bruins back in the summer of ’08, with the pickings getting slimmer, some team will probably find $3 million per season over a handful of years to commit to a player of Ryder’s ilk.

When even the Islanders are anteing up to keep one of its young players for the long term, in the years ahead there’ll be fewer and fewer high-end talents available via the UFA route. And that will make middle-of-the-road contributors like Ryder a little more valuable to teams looking to improve.