The Dallas Stars go into Thursday night’s play with a 10-8-1 record for the year, but made a move this week that is very curious to me. Dallas traded their leading scorer, Michael Ryder, to the Montreal Canadiens for Erik Cole. Ryder was leading Dallas with 14 points on the year, including six goals. With the Stars having 22 points on the season and in a tightly-packed Pacific Division, there has to be some question about why the team would trade Ryder away.
Cole is a very talented player. He scored 35 goals last season in Montreal–Ryder had 35 for Dallas–but he has struggled greatly this season while Ryder continues his quality play. Ryder would have been a free agent after this year while Cole has two years left after this season on his contract, but shouldn’t you be trying to win a title this season instead of trying to make sure you have a player for the next two years?
Cole will probably surprise me and make me look foolish about this, but this is not a trade that Dallas should have made. Ryder will help Montreal become a force in the Eastern Conference, but where does this leave Dallas? It leaves the Stars in a position where if Cole doesn’t get back to his 2012 levels this year and the team misses the playoffs while Montreal wins the Stanley Cup, the trade looks horrible. That’s not a risk I would have taken. Dallas could find themselves paying very deeply for this trade in the coming months.