When the Dallas Stars sent leading scorer Michael Ryder to the Montreal Canadiens for Erik Cole, it left many fans scratching their heads. Given Ryder’s production this season, it seemed like the only reason they dealt him had to do with his impending free agent status, but the Stars were also looking for more physical play – something Cole can provide. The deal may shape up to be a great win for the Canadiens, who were able to add a proven scorer who has history with the team. Ryder also brings another veteran presence in to balance out a Canadiens team loaded with young talent.
Just four games in to his second stint with Montreal, Ryder is already developing some chemistry with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta. He had assists on all three goals the Canadiens scored Tuesday in a losing effort against the New York Islanders, giving him four points in four games since the trade.
The next goal Ryder scores will be his 100th with the Canadiens franchise, which would be the second milestone for the veteran winger this season. His fourth goal of the season, scored for the Stars in a Feb. 4 game against the Phoenix Coyotes, gave him 400 points for his NHL career. Ryder is capable of playing big minutes for the team and is an asset on the power play. Youngsters Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk have been steady contributors for the team this season, but as the Canadiens continue to push for the postseason they will lean on veterans like Ryder, Gionta, Rene Bourque and Andrei Markov.