In a move that seems to come a little bit of out left field, the Dallas Stars have swapped wingers with the Montreal Canadiens, sending Michael Ryder back to the team that drafted him in exchange for Erik Cole.
Both Cole and Ryder scored a career-high 35 goals last seasons with their respective clubs, with Ryder adding one more assist than Cole for 62 as opposed to 61. Both had signed as free agents with the club in the offseason.
The first confirmation of the trade came from Bob McKenzie of TSN.
MTL trades Erik Cole to DAL for Michael Ryder.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 26, 2013
The Stars also sent a 2013 third-round draft pick to the Canadiens in the deal. [/End Update]
Cole, 34, is a winger with three goals and six points this season in 19 games played. Listed at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, he's a little bigger than Ryder, and he is in the second year of a four-year, $18 million deal he signed with the Canadiens last summer.
Ryder was drafted by the Canadiens with an eighth-round pick in 1998 and played in the Habs organization until 2008, when he signed with the Boston Bruins as a free agent. In four seasons with Montreal, he scored 99 goals, including a pair of 30 goal seasons. He led the Stars with 14 points - six goals and eight assists - before the trade, and was either tied for the lead or leading outright in both categories. That was bolstered by a three-assist game against the Predators on Monday.
Ryder was set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
More to come as we dig further into the trade...