In what is a hockey trade on paper, the Eastern Conference leading Montreal Canadiens just upgraded at the winger position, trading struggling winger Erik Cole to the Dallas Stars in exchange for forward Michael Ryder and a third round pick.

Ryder, 32, scored 35 goals last season for Dallas and has 6 goals and 14 points in 19 games this season. Ryder was expected to be among the most coveted wingers leading up to the trade deadline and this is a big win for Canadiens as the 34 year old Cole has struggled to be a fit in Michel Therrien’s system after a 35 goal season last year. Cole has just 3 goals and 6 points on the season. The Canadiens also unload Cole’s salary who has two years remaining with a $4.5 million cap hit.
The 32-year old Ryder registered 41 goals and 35 assists with a plus-21 rating in 101 games with Dallas over last two seasons.
Ryder was also expected to be a target of top contenders such as the Bruins and Penguins, but the Penguins were not in on him leading up to this trade.
This could end up being a good trade for both teams, as in Cole, the Stars are getting a player who they feel is tougher to play against, per Darren Dreger, but they are adding another aging player with two years left on deal who some feel is serious about retiring this summer, something he’s hinted at.