In an off-season where restricted free agents have really been cashing in, Montreal's Michael Ryder avoided arbitration yesterday afternoon by inking a decidedly under-market one-year, $2.95-million deal.
And while that may seem like quite the concession by a player who notched 30 goals the past two seasons, it puts him in a position to walk on July 1, 2008, and should he have a big year, get a lot more cake as an unrestricted free agent.
Ryder's agent, Thane Campbell, had been talking hardball in the leadup to the weekend, and it seemed both his client and the Kings' Michael Cammalleri were headed to an arbitrator this week. Was it a change of heart — or did Ryder simply opt for the easiest ticket out of Montreal? And will Cammalleri follow suit, even though his 80-point season may mean a big payday in arbitration?