The Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens made one of the larger trades of the season, which came early on in 2013. They swapped a pair of veterans, with Michael Ryder heading back to Montreal, while the Stars brought in a veteran with a longer/larger contract, in Erik Cole.
This is a deal that still doesn’t look to favorable for the Stars, really anyway you try and look at it. It was probably part of the reason that Joe Nieuwendyk was shown the door, though there are multiple other reasons for that. While Ryder went on to have some nice success for the no. 2 seeded Habs, Cole didn’t experience the same type of success at all for Dallas.
Cole still has two more years remaining on his contract a $4.5 million. The Stars gave up a veteran with an expiring contract in order to acquire him. There was obviously a reason for that. Whatever reason for bringing him simply didn’t materialize. But that doesn’t mean that all is lost.
Coming off of a season in which he broke the 60-point mark for the third time in his career, 2013 was a monumental disappointment for Cole, whether it was in Montreal or in Dallas. With the Stars, he had only seven points, six of them being goals, in 28 games. That’s not entirely his fault, though.
Cole spent a great majority of his time in Dallas bouncing between different lines, playing with several different line combinations. However, just seven goals for a player with the track record of Cole is a disappointment. Does that mean his spot with the Stars could be in jeopardy? Especially when you take into account the changes in the front office and behind the bench.
A poor stretch from Cole in a shortened season probably isn’t reason enough to make a judgement on cutting him loose this summer. While he’s getting up there in age, he’s just one season removed from yet another 20-goal season. He’s a veteran guy who brings nice chemistry to the locker room, and is capable of providing offense and grit at the same time. He can be a valuable piece of this team.
It’s probably unlikely that Jim Nill will try and cut Erik Cole loose via trade or buyout. He played pretty well down the stretch, even if it didn’t show up on the stat sheet. The Stars can use a player with Cole’s combination of offensive skill and defensive grit. He’ll likely be around next season.