I want to make it clear that I like Michael Ryder. He is the best goal-scorer that this team has had since Stephane Richer in the mid-late 1980s. With that being said, he should not be a first-line player. The man is a power-play specialist, but is highly deficient during 5 on 5 situations. Here's some food for thought:
Ryder had 30 goals, 28 assists and was -25 in 82 games played this season.
Of his 30 goals, 17 of them were on the power play, 2 were short handed, and 11 were even-strength
Of his 28 assists, 17 were on the power play and 11 were even-strength
Our first-liner had 11 even-strength goals and 11 even-strength assists this year in 82 games. 22 points, that's it.
Hell, Sergei Samsonov scored 9 even-strength goals and had 13 even strength assists totalling 22 points as well. More shockingly, he did this in 20 fewer games and averaged nearly 4 minutes less of ice time a game than Ryder.
If the Habs are ever going to succeed, they need to upgrade their first line. Ryder is not the man to get the job done. He is a nice 4th line player who can be on the roster to score goals on the power play. Other than that, he is a huge liability and is taking up valuable ice time to a prospect that has more upside and skill. Re-signing him would be a great mistake for us. We should trade him for prospects or trade him and some picks for a legit first-line player.
I still believe that a line with Kovalev-Koivu-Samsonov could work. They need time together to develop some chemistry. Sammy will be bought out, so we will never get to see it. If we deal Ryder, that would open a spot on the first line for a legit first-liner or a younger guy like S. Kostitsyn or Perezhogin.
I like Higgins-Plekanec-A.Kostitsyn as a 2nd line.
As for the checking line, I would like to see Begin-Lapierre-Perezhogin/Murray
4th line should have Latendresse-Grabovski-S. Kostitsyn
My obscure Hab of the day: Francois Groleau