BOSTON — The Stanley Cup-champion Boston Bruins said goodbye to forward Michael Ryder on Friday, the first free-agent defection from the team that beat Vancouver last month to win its first title since 1972.
Ryder signed with the Dallas Stars for a reported $7 million over two years on the first day of NHL free agency. The 31-year-old forward had 41 points in the regular season and was fourth on the team in playoff scoring, including three goals and three assists in the Stanley Cup finals against the Canucks.
“Rides got a good deal, so good for him,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a conference call with reporters. “I texted him and I wished him well and I told him, ‘Make sure you light up all those Eastern Conference teams, except for us’.”
Chiarelli had said he had told both Ryder and unrestricted free agent Tomas Kaberle that the team would like to re-sign them, but only at the right price. Ryder didn’t take long to find a better offer.
“In the three years we had him, he was really good in the postseason,” Chiarelli said. “The timely scoring is something that I like what I’ve seen with the rest of the group. It’s something that we’re going to have to replace, but I like our guys and I feel confident we can do that.”
The Bruins made a smaller splash, signing Benoit Pouliot from Montreal. The 24-year-old former fourth overall pick set career highs with 17 assists, 30 points and 87 penalty minutes along with 13 goals for the Montreal Canadiens last season.
“We like his skill. We like his size. We think he’ll fit in with our team,” Chiarelli said. “We’re hoping that he could buy into what we’re selling. I like his size, I like his skating and I like his shot.”
The team also signed forward Trent Whitfield, who was the captain for the minor-league Providence Bruins last season, to a two-year deal. Also agreeing to a two-year deal was goaltender Anton Khudobin.
Khudobin will serve as the team’s third goaltender next season.
The Dallas Stars opened free agency with a flurry, agreeing to terms with Stanley Cup-winning right wing Michael Ryder and five other players.
Ryder got a $7 million, two-year deal with Dallas after totaling eight goals and nine assists in the playoffs for the Stanley Cup-champion Boston Bruins. He had 18 goals with 23 assists in 79 regular-season games.
NHL NOTES: The Florida Panthers signed six veterans and acquired another in a trade. Leading the list of free agent signings was five-time All-Star defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who began his career in Florida after being the first overall pick in the 1994 draft. Also joining the Panthers was veteran goalie Jose Theodore, who won the Hart and Vezina trophies while with the Montreal Canadiens in 2001-02. The other free agents signed were forwards Tomas Fleischmann, Scottie Upshall and Marcel Goc, and defenseman Nolan Yonkman.