This second edition of the DOY Round Table debates who deserves the third line winger spot in the playoffs, Michael Ryder or Tyler Seguin. If you haven't read our first round table discussion, which talked about Marc Savard retiring, you can do so here.
Greg: I don't think there is much of a debate here. When you look at the season of a whole, Michael Ryder does not stand out as a great player. In fact, his production has been inconsistent since he's been part of the Bruins organization. In 2008-2009, Ryder scored 27 goals and had 26 assists (53 points) in the regular season. In 2009-2010 he had 18 goals and 15 assists (33 points [in 82 games!]) and in 2010-2011 he has 18 goals and 22 assists (40 points) with four games left. Nothing really impresses me about those numbers, especially when you're paying a guy $4M a year to score goals. I could see if Ryder was good defensively, but he's not. He's a goal scorer who scored 20+ goals ONCE in three years.
There's also a stat being throw around that Michael Ryder is a "clutch" playoff performer because he has scored 18 points in 24 games for the Bruins in the playoffs. In 2008-2009, when Boston was the top seed in the Eastern Conference, Michael Ryder had 5 goals and 8 assists in 11 games which is what he expect from him. Here's the issue that comes up from here on out. For the next 13 games, Ryder has 5 points. So in the 2009-2010 playoffs, Ryder had 4 goals and 1 assist in those 13 games. If you find yourself sitting there saying "Well four goals is pretty good right?" Wrong. Ryder scored 2 goals in the first round against Buffalo (Game 2 in Buffalo) and was virtually invisible the rest of the series. Against Philly, Ryder scored in Game 4 and again in Game 7. Also, it should be noted this was when Ryder was a top 6 winger for the Bruins.
All I'm saying is that Ryder's playoff stats and "experience" is vastly overblown. With his ability to coast through games, his lack of defense and his lack of scoring goals despite being labeled a "goal scorer" - Ryder needs to find a seat for these playoffs. Seguin, through all the bullshit Claude has put him through (including 8 minutes of ice time against the Rangers), has shown flashes of brilliance. I throughouly believe that if Seguin was on the second line with Bergeron and Recchi, instead of dwelling on the fourth line for most of the year, he'd have 60+ points. If you're going to try and develop a rookie you need to let him take his bumps, even in the playoffs. Ryder doesn't bring much to the table and he's set in his ways; Seguin is learning. Answer: Tyler Seguin.
Justin: Our distaste for Ryder is well known to anyone who's read this blog. I personally keep hoping he'll prove my gripes wrong and yet, he never seems to. At the moment a lot of fans want to jerk Ryder off because his game winning penalty shot secured Boston as the Northeast Division winners. It was also the first successful penalty shot at the Garden like a billion years, mostly because Marco Sturm couldn't hit the broadside of the barn on his penalty shot attempts. It's also the first thing Ryder has done in ages.
There is something to be sad about having experience in the playoffs but experience doesn't mean jack if the player with the experience sucks. Ryder has 40 points and is a -4 for Boston this year. Seguin is a -3 with 22 points. Stats are slightly in Ryder's favor but so is the ice time. Expectations are a lot higher with a veteran than a rookie. Ryder seems to disappear for weeks at a time we often wonder if he even suits up most nights. As of late, it looks like Seguin has picked up his game. I'd love to seem him get some experience in the big games and see how he reacts.
I'm really on the fence about who to start. I'd love to see Seguin get some playoff ice time and experience. I'd love to see how he reacts. But at the moment Ryder is on a two-game point "streak" and if he keeps up the scoring pace Julien will most certainly go with him to start the playoffs. What will probably happen is CJ will go with whoever's playing best and bench whoever's not doing well... and by that I mean he'll bench Seguin a the first sign of trouble and take too long to give Rydes the hook.
So I vote Seguin, but if Ryder continues to score you gotta go with the hot hand. Answer: Tyler Seguin
Jon: Before Ryder's penalty shot goal against Atlanta he had not scored in thirteen games. He admitted to coasting in the playoffs last year and his play during the regular season does little to indicate anything will be different this year.
People keeping saying "oh well Ryder has scored 18 points in 24 playoff games with the Bruins and has more experience!" Thirteen of those points came in the 2009 playoffs when the Bruins were ruining the Canadiens before deciding not to play against the Hurricanes. Seven of his thirteen points came in the four game sweep of the Canadiens when the entire team was on fire. And experience means nothing if you just coast and show zero effort. I'm not sold on the experience argument when it comes to Ryder.
Seguin is young and inexperienced, sure. The playoffs will be unlike anything he has ever experience. But he is young and hungry. He hasn't scored a point in his last 9 games but the desire and effort is there and that is more than you can say for Ryder. If I have to choose between a guy who has more playoff points and more experience but shows no effort or a guy who has no experience but has shown a lot of determination heading into the playoffs, I want the high effort guy every time over someone like Ryder.
In the end, if Seguin isn't working out you can always make a change. It really isn't that hard. Seguin's ice time is obviously going to be micromanaged heavily by Julien and the coaching staff so if he's not up to par he'll take a seat. But Seguin gives the Bruins more upside. His efforts will pay off if he keeps playing as hard as he has been. Answer: Tyler Seguin
Robb: Seguin has done the best he could with what he's had to work with this season. He averages just about 12:11 of ice time a game, and has more points than any other players in the NHL with comparable time and is among the highest in SOG as well. Even taking stats out of the picture, the kid has show flashes of downright brilliance at points over the season. You can make the argument about his inexperience, but I can't see a rookie with his skill level not elevating his play even more during his first chance to play in the NHL playoffs.
I think more people were surprised than they were excited when Ryder got the penalty shot goal against Atlanta last thursday, and with good reason, no one trusts him. Why should we? He's given us no reason to trust him since the 08-09 season. Despite what any statistics may say, he's not someone we're going to want to have in clutch situations. Experience, schmxperiance, the Bruins have plenty of that. Sorry to any Ryder sympathizers (I used to be one myself), but I'd rather see Seguin in there. Answer: Tyler Seguin
You've heard from us now we want to hear from you. Who do you want in that third line wing spot, Seguin or Ryder?