The Dallas Stars made their fourth and highest profile signing on the first day of NHL free agency Friday, coming to terms with Michael Ryder on a two-year deal for $7 million. Ryder won a Stanley Cup last season with the Bruins, scoring 18 goals and 41 points in 79 regular season games and added another eight goals and 17 points in 25 playoff games. He scored three goals and assisted on three more in the seven-game Finals against Vancouver and was a plus two.
Ryder is 31 and has played seven seasons in the NHL, never playing in less than 70 games. He’s primarily a right wing and did play with Stars center Mike Ribeiro in Montreal. He’s twice scored 30 goals and has averaged 23 for his career.
Ryder’s $3.5 million prorated salary cap number, along with the Stars’ other signings on Friday, brings them close to the NHL minimum payroll number for 2011-12, so he figures to be the club’s last major league signing for the time being. He fills a need for Dallas as a top-six right wing and will likely keep Radek Dvorak on a lower line.