Marc Bergevin made his first major splash as GM of the Habs on Tuesday night.
Montreal has dealt winger Erik Cole
to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Michael Ryder, who was originally was
drafted by the Canadiens back in the 8th round of the 1998 NHL draft. The
Habs also have acquired a 3rd round pick in June’s draft with the Newfoundland
The 32 year old right winger has had a strong start to the 2012-13 campaign
as prior to the trade, he was tied for the Stars’ lead in goals, assists, and
points with All-Star teammate Jamie Benn. This comes after his career
2011-12 campaign where he had 35 goals, tying him for 11th in the NHL.
Coincidentally enough, one of the two players he was tied with was Cole.
His 62 total points was fourth on the Stars. This year, he has six goals
and eight assists.
Cole was in the midst of his second season with the Habs after joining the
club in the 2011 offseason. Like Ryder, last year was arguably his best in
the league. Along with the 35 goals, he also finished second on the Habs
in points (61) and plus/minus (+11). However, he has struggled early on
this season and recently was demoted to the third line. This also comes
after comments made right after the lockout where he was hinting at retiring
following the year although he did backtrack shortly thereafter. Cole has
a trio of goals and assists so far this season.
One area that Ryder will not be able to match Cole in is the physical side.
The newly-acquired forward has hovered around one hit per game in recent years
while Cole has regularly been of the better forwards in the league in this area.
This season, Cole is listed as 13th among NHL left wingers in hits…a
particularly odd stat considering he plays the right wing.
Contracts likely played a large role in this trade. Ryder is a pending
unrestricted free agent while Cole has two more years with a $4.5 million cap
hit beyond the current season. With the salary cap set to drop to $64.3
million next year, this frees up a considerable amount of space for Montreal.
Ryder has a $3.5 million cap hit this year.
Ryder will be coming to the Habs with a little bit of familiarity with Michel
Therrien. The Habs’ bench boss was briefly his coach during the 2000-01
season with the Quebec Citadelles, who were the Habs’ AHL affiliate at that
time. Partway through the year, Therrien was promoted to the big club.