Prior to puck drop of yesterday’s game between the Dallas Stars and the Columbus Blue Jackets the Dallas Stars announced that they had made a trade. The Dallas Stars acquired veteran forward Erik Cole in exchange for last season’s leading goal man Michael Ryder and Dallas’ third round pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft. This came as a shock to many Stars’ fans as the move just came all of a sudden. Prior to the trade, Michael Ryder still has an active six game point streak, looks to have found some chemistry with young center Cody Eakin and had just come off a three assist game the previous night against the Nashville Predators.
Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk didn’t make the trade for absolutely no reason, or just to upset Stars fans. When asked about the trade here is what Joe Nieuwendyk had to say:
“It’s a deal that makes sense for us because (Cole) has a little more size and strength to compete in the West,” said Nieuwendyk. “He’s a big guy with experience who has a lot of power to his game. The fact that he has this year, plus two years remaining on his contract is a little security for us.”
With this there are still a lot of questions to be answered, but in a trade you always have to let things play out a bit before judging, so instead for this post we will look at a few reasons why Dallas did make the trade.
Like Nieuwendyk said in the interview, Dallas will have Cole for this season and the next two at a cap hit of 4.5 million. Michael Ryder was making 3.5 million and was set to become a free agent where he would most likely receive more money from a team looking for more scoring.
Last season Michael Ryder scored 62 points for the Stars (35g, 27a), but was mostly a one dimensional player as his play in the defensive zone was questionable at times. Erik Cole scored 61 points for Montreal last season (35g, 26a) and can play all situations. So the Stars don’t lose the production but gain a player who can play solid two-way hockey. Cole is bigger, stronger, and analysts still say he can skate, and while Michael Ryder certainly didn’t have blazing speed he made up for it with his shot, something that Erik Cole possesses as well.
Michael Ryder won a cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011 so he has playoff experience, but as does Erik Cole as he along with Ray Whitney won in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Stars also gave up their third round pick in the 2013 entry draft, but Dallas had three picks in the third round this year as they gained one from the Nicklas Grossmann deal from Philadelphia last season, and gained one from the Edmonton Oilers prior to the season beginning when the Stars dealt Mark Fistric. So even though Joe Nieuwendyk isn’t really a GM who shops draft picks he felt that this one could be sacrificed to bring Erik Cole to Dallas. And since Michael Ryder might not return to Montreal next season, the third ensures that they don’t completely lose on Ryder who might just be a rental player for the remainder of the season for them.
So in closing this looks like one of those trades where time will tell who exactly got the better end of the deal here, or maybe just one of those deals where in the end everybody wins.