Early on in the season, before the trade deadline neared and the rumors really started heating up, the Montreal Canadiens made a trade with the Dallas Stars. The Habs sent Erik Cole to the Stars in exchange for former Canadien Michael Ryder. It was a trade that ended up being mighty one-sided.
Cole was mainly a disappointment for the Stars. Despite the fact that they managed to hang around in the playoffs race in the Western Conference longer than many expected them to, Cole wasn’t a major factor in that. Ryder, on the other hand, was a success for the Canadiens.
Split between the two teams, Ryder finished the regular season with 35 points, 21 of those coming with the Habs. His 16 goals total would have led the team, but his 10 in a Habs sweater ended up being the fourth most. He was a weapon for them on the power play, with 11 points, six of them goals, coming on the man advantage.
Part of the reason that it made sense for the Habs to acquire Ryder was the fact that they were able to get rid of a bad contract, in Cole, in exchange for an expiring one, in Ryder. An unrestricted free agent this summer, there’s certainly a question of whether or not he’ll be back in Montreal next season.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that the door is closed on a potential Ryder return in 2013-14. However, it is unlikely. At 33, Ryder likely thinks he has plenty of game left in him. Which means he’s probably not looking to come down from that $3.5 million cap hit that he’s currently carrying.
The answer to that is likely no. Which means that the Habs and Ryder will likely cut ties. Of course, this being Ryder’s second stint in Montreal, he could decide to take a bit of a paycut. We’ll see what happens this summer.