The Stars swapped veteran goal scoring wingers with the Canadiens today, shipping Michael Ryder out and bringing Erik Cole in.

Ryder was signed as a UFA on July 1, 2011. He exploded for a career high last season with 35 goals, finding chemistry with Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson for most of the season. The first time in five years he hit the 30 goal mark – the previous being 30 goals in 2006-07 during his first stint with the Habs. He’s been quietly putting together another good offensive season so far with 6 goals and 14 points in the Stars’ 19 games.

The only issue was what to do with him. He’s scheduled to become a UFA in the summer and likely wants something longer than just another two year contract. With the current gradual youth movement going on in Dallas, they likely weren’t willing to go beyond that – something like the Sheldon Souray situation. It’s also possible Ryder just wasn’t interested in re-signing in Dallas at all.

Enter Erik Cole. It may seem like the deal doesn’t make sense. Trade one veteran for an older one (Cole being 34, Ryder turning 33 on March 31)? It likely has something to do with the fact that Cole is already locked in for those two years – no more. So essentially the just re-signed a veteran winger for two more seasons at $4 million per.

Cole has been a streaky scorer over the years, much like Ryder. They’ve put up pretty similar numbers over their careers and also like Ryder, he hit a career high 35 goals last season. However, he’s struggled to put up numbers in his 19 games so far, finding the twine just 3 times and chipping in another 3 assists. But he brings more speed and size, and plays more of a power game  as opposed to the perimeter sniper that Ryder is. Hopefully a change of scenery gets him going again offensively to make this “re-signing” worth it. It’s no secret that nobody was enjoying his presence in Montreal this season, Cole included.

It should be noted that Cole is friends with Ray Whitney and Mark Recchi – all winning the Stanley Cup together in Carolina. That possibly played a role in things.

I think it’s clear the Stars are prepared to go forward with at least some older guys in the lineup, as opposed to a complete rebuild. Which is fine, but personally I preferred a deadline deal for some youth. Something like the Riberio for Eakin deal.

The Stars also sent a 3rd round pick Montreal’s way.


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