Michael Ryder was born March 31, 1980 in St. John's, Newfoundland. The ninth pick, 216th overall selection of the Montreal Canadiens in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Ryder is a graduate of the QMJHL's Hull Olympiques.
An offensively gifted forward, Ryder played three seasons in Hull capturing All-Rookie Honours in 1997-98, team Top Scorer honours in 1998-99 and was a bronze medalist with Canada's World Junior Team in 2000. In his three year with the Olympiques, the St. John's, Newfoundland native tallied 257 points (128-129-257) before making his professional debut in 2000-01.
After splitting his first two seasons with Quebec of the AHL, Tallahassee and Mississippi of the ECHL, Ryder broke out offensively with the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs in 2002-03 with 67 points (34-33-67). In 2003-04, Ryder made his NHL debut with Montreal and went on to lead all NHL rookies in scoring with 63 points (25-38-63).
Over the next two seasons in Montreal, Ryder would lead the club in goal scoring with 30 goals per season. In 2006-07 he established career highs in games played (82) and points (58). However his production declined the following season as the former 30-goal scorer found the back of the net only 14 times.
Following his 2007-08 season in Montreal, Ryder signed a 3-year, $12 million contract with the Boston Bruins.
In 2007-08, Ryder regained his scoring touch that had been so difficult for him to find the previous season. Under his former junior coach Claude Julien, Ryder had a bounce-back year, scoring 27 times for the Bruins.
With Boston, the sniper began to play a more well-rounder game. He followed up his 27 goal campaign with back-to-back 18-goal seasons and showed more attention to the defensive side of the game.
In 2011, Ryder helped the Bruins to the club's first Stanley Cup championship since 1972. After surviving a first round scare from the Montreal Canadiens, the Bruins steamrolled over the Philadelphia Flyers and endured a seven game battle with the Tampa Bay Lightning en route to the Stanley Cup Final where they would take on the powerful Vancouver Canucks.
The Bruins would defeat the Canucks in a seven game classic, with Ryder contributing 17 points in 25 playoff games.
With the Stanley Cup celebration seemingly still in full-swing, Ryder found himself an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2011. He signed two-year deal with the Dallas Stars worth a reported $7 million.
In his first season in Dallas, Ryder did exactly what he was paid to do. Score goals. Appearing in all 82 games for the Stars, he notched a career-best 35.
During the lockout shortened 2012-13 season, after just 19 games, Ryder was traded back to the Montreal Canadiens, along with a third round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, in exchange for Erik Cole.