Photo Credit: Cliff Welch/Icon SMI

Around 6:00 PM Central time, the Dallas Stars announced they acquired forward Erik Cole from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Michael Ryder and a 3rd round draft pick. The Stars lose a big scorer (and a right handed forward) but Cole will add a lot of size up front. He also posted 35 goals and 61 points last year for the Habs.

A big determinant according GM Joe Niewendyk was the contract situation; Ryder was up to be an unrestricted free agent over the summer while Cole has two years remaining on his contract and will hit the cap at about $4.5 million.

Only time will tell the value of this trade for the Stars, but Cole can definitely be a short term asset for the team (he is 34 years old now) while adding a significant net presence/scoring threat. It was expected to see some movement with several UFA's approaching this summer including Brenden Morrow, Derek Roy, Jaromir Jagr, and Eric Nystrom.

This trade comes at an established point in the season and will shake things up, hopefully in a positive way. My only immediate issues with the trade (besides the risk involved in anything like this) is getting rid of a right handed shooter--especially with Whitney injured-- which the Stars have endured a shortage of for years and Cole being an underperformer so far this year.

Again, only time will tell how this plays out; it should be interesting. We will keep you updated with more. Look out for a more in depth analysis of Erik Cole in the coming days.