Found December 29, 2011 on Fox Sports Southwest:
Boston_bruins_v_0d2d
When Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk brought in a number of new players before the start of this season, he did so with one simple goal-to make the 2011-12 Stars a team that would end the club's three-year playoff drought. One of those players who was added during the off-season was winger Michael Ryder, a former teammate of Dallas assist man extraordinaire Mike Ribeiro during their days in Montreal. With the Canadiens, Ryder or "Ryds" as he is referred to also skated alongside big defenseman Sheldon Souray, another of the new faces Nieuwendyk brought in over the summer. The 31-year-old native of Newfoundland came to the Stars after a solid three-year stay in Boston, a run that culminated with him being part of the Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup championship team. And through 35 games, Ryder has amassed 25 points (14-11-25) and has at least a point in Dallas' last six contests. Looking at his numbers thus far and projecting them out over 82 games, there is a good chance he could finish at 60 points or more for the second time in his career. The last time he did so was as a rookie with the Habs in 2003-04, when he had 63 points (25-38-63). Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not he reaches that plateau but considering that he and linemates Jamie Benn, a player who most agree is a future NHL All-Star, and Loui Eriksson, who made his first career trip the Midseason Classic earlier this year, are now beginning to really click, is there really any reason to believe he can't finish the year with at least 60 markers? In fact, while Benn and Eriksson are great players in their own right, it has been the strong player of Ryder that has helped elevate the ErikssonBennRyder trio to its rightful status as the Stars' top line. But to merely discuss Ryder's exploits in the attacking phase of the game does him a pretty grave disservice. That's because any time Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan is asked about the ex-Bruin, of course the affable bench man discusses his offensive game, but Gully is also quick to extol the greatness of Ryds on the other end of the ice. And that shouldn't be surprising in the least. That's because when Gulutzan was hired back in June to help turn this thing around, one thing he said at his introductory presser was that he wanted his guys to be solid two-way players. Ryder is exactly that, so it's not a shock that Gully is a big fan of his. However, Ryder isn't the only Dallas newcomer who is making his presence felt on the score sheet. Third-line winger Eric Nystrom (12-2-14) has also had considerable impact on his new club. Nystrom's story is of course a bit different from that of Ryder. The son of former Islanders standout Bob Nystrom, he didn't earn a spot on Minnesota's roster to start the season and was sent to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Houston Aeros. He even suited up and saw a fair amount of ice time in the Aeros' season opener against the Chicago Wolves in early October. In short, the second-generation NHL player wondered what would be next for him. Well, what was next was a trade from the Wild to the Stars. Dallas needed to add a player in short order after Sean Avery was sent to the minors by the New York Rangers, a move that put the Stars under the NHL's salary minimum. So, Nieuwendyk made a deal with Minnesota to bring Nystrom to town. Gulutzan knew the young forward during his time in the ECHL with Las Vegas and figured he would fit in nicely on either the third or fourth line. And that's exactly where Nystrom started out, was on the fourth line. But just a few games into his Stars tenure, Gully made a fateful move, putting him on the third line alongside veterans Radek Dvorak and Vernon Fiddler. It was a decision that made almost immediate dividends. Nystrom gelled immediately with his new linemates and during the month of November, when the Stars were rocked by injuries to regulars like Trevor Daley, Alex Goligoski and Brenden Morrow, the strong play of Nystrom, who netted eight goals in November, helped propel the third line to be the second most productive line that month, behind only the trio of Eriksson, Benn and Ryder. Sure, Nystrom has cooled off a bit since then. But on Monday night at St. Louis, he netted his 12th goal of the season in a losing effort, a new career-high. Twelve appears to be more of a beginning for this New York native rather than a high water mark. During their relatively short time in Dallas, both Michael Ryder and Eric Nystrom have definitely made an impact for the Stars. Which impact has been more noteworthy? Well, that all depends on what criteria one uses in answering that question. Ryder's production has been expected, especially after coming over from Boston and he has delivered. Nystrom is a bit more of a surprise, especially considering that he plays on the third line. Both have been key contributors to the Stars' early success, a trend their teammates, coach and fans all hope continues well into the new year.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Robidas, Souray injuries loom large for Stars

An interesting exercise at the end of the 2011-12 NHL regular season might be to see which Stars players skated in all 82 contests. Last year, there were four Dallas players who held that distinction-Trevor Daley, Brenden Morrow, Steve Ott and Mike Ribeiro. Of that quartet, all but Ribeiro has already missed time due to injury so far this year, something that has been a trend for...

Stars' Morrow takes puck to left knee

In a game where the Dallas Stars just got starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen back after missing 12 games due to a groin injury and a contest where the club's two most veteran defensemen Stephane Robidas and Sheldon Souray, continue to be sidelined, could Glen Gulutzan's club now be adding captain Brenden Morrow to the list of injured players? Quite possibly. The Dallas captain...

Stars captain Morrow hit by puck, injures knee

Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow exited Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets with a knee injury. Morrow was injured in the second period after he was hit by the puck on his left knee. He attempted to return in the third, but played on only one shift and retreated to the locker room. The 32-year-old Morrow did not return to the contest and will be re-evaluated...

Stars G Lehtonen to face Jackets, Ds Souray, Robidas out 10-14 days

Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen will return to the ice for Thursday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Coach Glen Gulutzan also announced that defensemen Sheldon Souray and Stephane Robidas will be sidelined for 10-14 days apiece. Souray is nursing a sprained ankle and Robidas sustained a setback in his recovery from a foot injury. As for Lehtonen, he'll be...

Ribeiro Finding Groove for Stars

Mike Ribeiro will be the first to admit that throughout his first 11 years in the National Hockey League, he has been a bit of a slow starter. And that form definitely held true for the 31-year-old Stars center so far this season. ...

Stars activate G Lehtonen from injured reserve

DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Stars have activated goaltender Kari Lehtonen from injured reserve after he missed 12 games with a lower-body injury.

Stars activate G Lehtonen from IR (AP)

The Dallas Stars have activated goaltender Kari Lehtonen from injured reserve after he missed 12 games with a lower-body injury. Lehtonen led the NHL with 13 wins when he got hurt Nov. 26 in a game against Phoenix. He could be back in net Thursday night when the Stars host Columbus. Defenseman Stephane Robidas, who has missed three games with a lower-body injury, was placed on injured...

Bill Meltzer: Star Gazing: 12/30/11

The Dallas Stars are in deep trouble as the final game of 2011 calendar year looms on the horizon on New Year's Eve. Last night's 4-1 loss at the American Airlines Center to the Columbus Blue Jackets was disturbing on many levels. I am not too concerned by the fact that Kari Lehtonen did not look all that sharp in his return to the lineup after a 12-game absence due to...

Stars' Lehtonen allows four goals in return

Stars' Kari Lehtonen stops 25 shots, allows four goals in return from injury in loss to Blue Jackets.

Bruins Not Surprised Michael Ryder Is Finding Success With Dallas, Speak Highly of Former Teammate

Michael Ryder was maligned at times for his play as a member of the Bruins, but the crafty forward always seemed to come up big when it mattered most. That was no more evident than in the Bruins' run to the Stanley Cup last year when Ryder saved his best work for the spring. Ryder scored a handful of clutch goals and his glove save during the first round against the Canadiens...

Stars' Morrow (lower-body injury) leaves game

Dallas Stars forward Brenden Morrow left Thursday's game with the Columbus Blue Jackets early in the third period with a lower-body injury and will not return.

Game 36 Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Dallas Stars

Columbus Blue Jackets (9-22-5, 23 pts) @ Dallas Stars (20-14-1, 41 pts) 7:30 PM CT, December 29, 2011 American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas If Kari Lehtonen wanted to try and ease his way back into the lineup, there might not be a better team to do that against than the Columbus Blue Jackets. Lethonen makes his long awaited return to the Stars lineup tonight after missing the...

GameDay: Columbus Blue Jackets at Dallas Stars

Blue Jackets at Stars

GAME DAY: at Dallas

Tweet   Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Dallas Stars RECORDS - CBJ: 9-22-5 (Road: 3-12-2), DAL: 20-14-1 (Home: 7-10-2) WHEN: Dec. 29, 2011 - 8:30 p.m.   |   WH...

Joe Nieuwendyk and Doug Gilmour inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame

Two former Flames stars will have their careers honoured by being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame tonight. It is appropriate that Joe Nieuwendyk and Doug Gilmour will enter the HHOF together after winning a Stanley Cup together in Calgary in 1989. The Cup was the first of 3 that Nieuwendyk would win and [...]
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.