Today is a day of trades. Just hours after it was announced that Philadelphia had traded for Simon Gagne, Montreal and Dallas complete a trade that sends Erik Cole to the Stars and Michael Ryder up to the Canadiens.
The Ryder/Cole deal was confirmed by TSN's Bob McKenzie.
No offense to the Philadelphia / LA trade earlier today, but this is a trade with some substance.
Let's look at Erik Cole first.
Cole had been off to a rough start for Montreal this season, scoring just three goals and six total points over the course of 19 games. He had just come off a stretch where he was held without a point for nine consecutive games. It's safe to say the Canadiens were growing frustrated with the player that had scored 35 goals and 26 assists just one season ago.
As for Michael Ryder, he had been having a respectable season with Dallas. He had six goals to go along with eight assists in 19 games. Expectations were high for Ryder after he quietly posted 35 goals in 2011-12, and so far in 2013, he was doing a pretty decent job living up to them.
Ryder is pretty familiar with Montreal as he played the first four years of his career (2003-04 through 2007-08) as a Canadien. There were rumors that Boston might try and reacquire him (he spent three seasons with them between 2008-09 and 2010-11), but those rumors can be put to rest now that he is returning to Montreal.
Meanwhile, Erik Cole will play for his third team in as many seasons. He was with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2010-11 before ultimately heading to Montreal in 2011-12. Now Cole joins a Dallas roster which features plenty of other noteworthy veterans, including Jaromir Jagr.
Cole is in the second year of a four-year, $18 million contract. It's also believed he must have waived his no-trade clause in order for the move to Dallas to come to fruition. Ryder is in the final year of a two-year, $7 million contract and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2013 season.
Who wins this trade? That's always difficult to project. Each team could stand to gain from this deal, and that's (obviously) the objective of any trade. Dallas picks up yet another veteran that may soon rebound from an extended slump with a change of scenery. Montreal loses a player they've grown disappointed with and picks up one of the most underrated players in the NHL.