When Erik Cole was traded to the Stars for Michael Ryder, it was a weird feeling. The data showed that Cole was still the better possession driver, but Ryder isn't bad in that area, and he's been showing us every game since the trade that he has more gas left in the tank than Cole did. A lot more.The cutoff for this data set is just 5 games after the trade, so we have to understand a couple different things.
1) Most of the numbers on display are from while Ryder was a Dallas Star.
2) The scoring chance counts are a minuscule sample size.
I point this out about the scoring chance data mainly because Michael Ryder was absolutely, unapologetically shredded at even strength in his first few games in Montreal in spite of solid possession. We know that this has not continued after reading Olivier's scoring chance counts after every game. I think it's safe to say, knowing this fact, that this horrible scoring chance differential was an adjustment to the Habs' system more than anything.
One thing you do notice about Michael Ryder is how he's able to slow the game down when he has the puck. Ryder isn't a star player, but he has a unique skill set. Many have noticed how every move he makes is extremely deliberate. He's able to keep the puck longer than you would think in traffic because he seems to know what he's going to do way ahead of time. This comes through in his team leading (among forwards) risk/reward rating at even strength.
I don't want to get too into Ryder's stats for the reason's mentioned, but one thing we can do is see how things changed from his Dallas games to his Habs games.
Ryder's possession and zone starts took a huge jump as soon as he was traded, but while his zone starts continued to climb, his possession levelled off.
Ryder is a one dimensional player, in that he provides a heck of a lot of offense, but rarely contributes defensively. He's not as bad as his reputation in the defensive zone, as he backchecks much more frequently than say, Cammalleri, but he's not at his best below the Canadiens' blueline.
Where he butter his bread though, is the powerplay. Small sample size dictates that we should probably ignore Ryder's scoring chance differential being otherworldly on the man advantage, as well as his team high risk/reward rating, but his other season long statistics back up these results.
Ryder goes from the 8th highest shot rate at even strength, to the highest shot rate of any forward on the team on the powerplay, hitting the net 18.18 times every 60 minutes. The only Canadiens player who's outpaced him there is shot machine P.K. Subban, who's powerplay work this season has been indescribably good.
Ryder is likely best used in an exploitation role against soft competition, but in this sample he was not given a set role. Because of this, and the small sample as a Hab, I'm not going to grade him. We've seen since the 24 game mark the value that Ryder brings to this team, and we can touch on that over the summer in the full season review.
First half grade: N/A
Ryder wasn't a Canadien last season, but you can see his separated stats from Dallas right after the trade happened and see how they changed over five games by checking out the analysis of the trade.