Smart, passionate and somewhat biased commentary about the Montreal Canadiens (HABS) from a lifelong fan now living in Toronto (LeafLand).

Back to the Future — Again!!

GM Bergevin pulls trigger on deal with Dallas Stars trading Erik Cole for Michael Ryder and 3rd round pick


I was just about to get into the shower after a hard “insanity” workout. Then I heard from the television downstairs on RDS saying the Canadiens made a trade today. My immediate thought was “…oh what draft pick and prospect now!?”

But then I was shocked to hear the Habs traded big power forward Erik Cole with two more years on his four year 18 million dollar contract to the Dallas Stars for Michael Ryder and a third round pick!

Wow! Was I blown away.

Welcome back Ryder. Times have changed in Montreal. Good luck in Dallas Cole. Let me know if you find out anything I don’t already know on the JFK assassination.

Why? Well Cole had a terrific season last year with 35 goals. He was off to a slow start, no doubt. But we at least thought that he was a good team guy, a leader and would get going.

I have to admit, I was a bit surprised when this veteran winger who clicked so well with Desharnais and Pacioretty last year came into camp saying he was going to retire at season’s end. Seemed very odd. He was definitely rattled by the lockout, and maybe a change of scenery will be good for him.

Kind of a weird way to start a year. And then his play and lack of production has brought up questions about his fitness, leadership and will.

I admire Bergevin for pulling the trigger and making a splash to make his team better.

The big question is: was this the right deal?

From a numbers perspective, after looking at the specifics quite frankly, yes.

Cole has another two years left on an $18 million contract. Ryder is a UFA at the end of this season. So in one swoop, Bergevin frees up money against the cap for next season; gets a natural goal scorer who also scored 35 goals last season and so far this season has 14 points in 19 games — tying him with team leader Plekanec; gets a player who’ll be hungry to get a good contract for next year with whichever team; and gets a pick.

And the other intangible? Bergevin shakes his team up a bit, ensuring over confidence and complacency doesn’t set in, and puts some of the other “leaders” on this team on the hot seat (I’m looking at you Brian Gionta).

The other big question? What else does Bergevin have up his sleeve? Is he done?

Ryder struggled under head coach Guy Carbonneau in his last season with the Habs and during his first year in Boston but now he’s a veteran player who is confident in his abilities. He’s a proven goal scorer, even if he is one-dimensional to some extent. He’s a sniper. He’ll be expected to snipe.

Erik Cole waived his no-trade clause for this. Maybe he wasn’t happy? Maybe he wasn’t the leader we were led to believe? Maybe Bergevin wants to purge anything Pierre Gauthier? Whatever the case, Cole can now retire a Dallas Star if he so chooses, while Michael Ryder can enjoy playing on an up-and-coming team that could be competitive in the post season this year.

Time will tell whether this works out for the Habs. In the end, Erik Cole was the best thing that happened to the Canadiens during last year’s debacle. But I knew we wasted the best year of his career. Maybe Ryder still has his best in him.

Twitter! It’s good, clean fun: #habsfanleafland

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