Bruins lose Ryder and sign 3 as free agency opens

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.