The Boston Bruins moved to strengthen their mediocre offence by signing two-time 30-goal scorer Michael Ryder on Tuesday.
The right winger, who spent all four of his NHL seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, signed a $12-million US, three-year deal with the team that scored the sixth fewest goals last season.
"He has a terrific shot, very strong on the puck and plays a gritty game," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said on a conference call. "He's someone we've targeted for a while."
Ryder was the second forward on Chiarelli's list of free agents.
The Bruins also were interested in Marian Hossa, who finished last season with Pittsburgh and has scored at least 29 goals in eight of his 10 seasons.
"We were involved a little bit with Hossa," Chiarelli said. "He's a terrific player. We weren't at a position where we felt we would devote time to it."
Instead, he concentrated on Ryder, who spoke with Chiarelli, coach Claude Julien and vice president Cam Neely. Ryder played six seasons under Julien in junior hockey and the NHL.
At least two other teams were trying to sign Ryder, Chiarelli said, and the Bruins increased their offer at about 7 p.m. ET, three hours before the deal was announced.
Chiarelli said he doesn't expect to sign other free agents.
After scoring 30 goals for two straight seasons, Ryder had just 14 last season with 17 assists.
He played in four of the Canadiens' first five playoff games in Montreal's seven-game, first-round victory over Boston but he didn't dress for the team's remaining seven.
"He was in the dog house," Chiarelli said. "I don't know the facts behind it. I don't know what to attribute it to.
"They had some very skilled players. Every time we played him, he played hard and he was dangerous."
The Bruins' defence was solid last season, their first under Julien. But they scored just 212 goals. In 314 career games, Ryder has 99 goals — 46 on the power play — and 108 assists.