Michael Ryder returns to Montreal in deal that sends Erik Cole to Dallas

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A little over a year and a half ago the Montreal Canadiens signed Erik Cole to a 4-year, $18 million deal. In his first full season with the Habs Cole posted respectable numbers: 35 goals and 61 points. His start to the 2013 NHL season has been anything but good with him netting just three goals and six points through 19 games.

On Tuesday, Cole's time in Montreal was up as GM Marc Bergevin shipped him and the remaining two years and $9 million left on his contract to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Michael Ryder, who's deal is expiring after this season, and a 2013 third round pick. ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reports that Cole waived his no-trade clause to make the move happen.

From the Stars:

"Erik Cole is a top-six, power forward who skates well, adds size, and is under contract for the next two years,” said Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk. “We thank Michael Ryder for his contributions and look forward to what Erik will bring to our group."

Ryder spent the first four years of his career with the Habs and also posted 35 goals in his first year in Dallas last season. He's started off this year a little better than Cole with six goals and 14 points in 19 games with the Stars.

Time will tell if a change of scenery will bring back Cole's offensive fortunes from a year ago, but the Habs get a pick, get out from the final two years of his deal, freeing up cap space this summer and a player in Ryder, who would like to cash in on his expiring contract.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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