Hab keeps tabs

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

The scouting report is one Michael Ryder proudly relays.

It seems the Calgary Flames aren't the only one keeping tabs on Daniel Ryder.

His older brother, the Montreal Canadiens right winger, is keeping close contact and thrilled with his sibling's development.

"He's doing all right. He was sure excited to be drafted by Calgary, that's for sure," Michael said after yesterday's morning skate. "He's doing really well, actually."

With the OHL's Peterborough Petes, Daniel Ryder has 24 goals and 25 assists through 41 games, a steady climb in development for the centre drafted by the Flames in the third round, 74th overall, last summer.

Micheal even had a chance to see him for a game in Oshawa, making the drive while in Toronto earlier this season.

"He left for there when he was 16, so he's had a couple of years to adjust," he said.

This winter, Flames fans became excited about Dustin Boyd, also a third-round draft choice, who excelled at the world juniors.

It's a very real possibility the same will happen during next year's tournament, seeing as Daniel is also a slick skater with scoring ability and may get his crack at that tournament.

He's certainly climbing the ranks of the hockey world.

According to The Hockey News, in its annual prospects preview, Daniel is among Calgary's top-10 up-and-comers.

"I didn't hear of that," Michael said. "That's pretty good.

"I try not to put too much pressure on him. I don't say much to him, just ask how he's doing and tell him to make sure he's taking care of himself."

Although Daniel appears to be having a quick ascent in the game, he's seen first-hand the importance of remaining grounded.

Micheal has indeed enjoyed success early in his NHL career -- he's followed up a 25-goal rookie season in fine fashion, having netted 19 goals and 11 assists prior to last night's clash with the Flames -- but was far from an overnight success.

Three full seasons in the minors, including a couple of stints in the ECHL, were endured before getting his big break.

"I had a couple of rough years my first two years pro but it helps build a bit of character, I guess," he explained.

"He knows what I went through and knows nothing comes easy, so he knows what he has to work through to get there."

With one more goal, the older Ryder will join a prestigious list of Montreal Canadiens to score 20 or more goals in his first two NHL seasons.

Despite the franchise's storied past, fewer than 15 have achieved that feat, among them Stephane Richer, Mats Naslund, Guy Lafleur, Jacques Lemaire, Chuck Lefley, Bernie Geoffrion and Maurice Richard.

"I haven't thought about that kind of thing. I just try to go out and do as much as I can," Ryder said. "If the goals come, it happens."

Besides, with the Habs just on the outside of the playoff picture, and having just gone through a coaching change, there's a taller order at hand.


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