Montreal trades Erik Cole to Dallas for Michael Ryder

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

Michael Ryder is headed back to Montreal. (Getty Images)
Michael Ryder is headed back to Montreal. (USATSI)

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The Philadelphia Flyers weren't the only team bringing back an old friend on Tuesday.

The Montreal Canadiens re-acquired forward Michael Ryder from the Dallas Stars in exchange for forward Erik Cole. The Canadiens also received a third-round pick in the trade.

Ryder spent the first four years of his career with the Canadiens, scoring 30 goals on two different occassions. He's in the final year of a contract that carries a cap hit of $3.5 million. He will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. He's 32, but he's still a tremendous finisher with a quick shot, and he had a bounceback season for the Stars last year, scoring a career-high 35 goals.

In his first 19 games this year, he has six goals and eight assists.

Cole, 34, also scored a career-high 35 goals for the Canadiens last season but has had a hard time repeating that success this year (in a role that's seen him play fewer minutes) and has been limited to just three goals and three assists. He still has two years remaining on his contract and will count $4.5 million against the cap through the end of the 2014-15 season.

At first glance, it's hard to see what Dallas is gaining in this deal. Cole is two years older than Ryder, isn't as productive, and will take up quite a bit of cap space over the next two years.

It seems to be an upgrade for a Montreal team that has been one of the best in the Eastern Conference this season.

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