There is definitely more to this story. This was so out of left field that there is other motivations behind moving him. Whether it was MB looking ahead at the cap over the next two years, Cole asking for a trade, or management and team not liking what he was bringing to the table attitude wise.
I don't hate it in terms of a pure lateral move. I don't mind Ryder. The way Cole played for us last season, well, that speed and physicality trumps anything Ryder can provide, even if the stats are similar. Cole (last season version) is simply a superior hockey player.
So we give up the better player (with mindset/age risk) for a player with an expiring contract which positions us for the potential for big moves in the summer. That's ok. I'll take it. Especially if Cole really did want out.
But if we gave up an extra pick in the process... ? No, I wouldn't approve of that.
Habs think that Cole is about to be done. And they get rid of that salary. And they get a fine player who's contract will end at the end of the year. A guy that if he wants another contract...will have to be very good.
I say....good deal.
This. Exactly this. Cole wasn't producing, Ryder is having a fine year after scoring 35 last year. Getting rid of that contract (and hypothetically using the amnesty buyout on Kaberle next summer) clears a ton of space for next season and the season after.
My guess is that bergevin didn't feel Cole was a core player, and made a deal that minimized the long term effect of his contract while hedging the offensive production that we lose in Cole this season by adding a player with similar offensive numbers.
Regardless of how you feel about Ryder based on his last stint in Mtl (i personally liked him as a player although recognize he is fairly limited...not unlike Erik Cole mind you) this was, at worst, an objectively defensible trade and very good asset management.
Basically a NBA type trade. We got Ryder's expiring deal this summer and we shed the final 2 years of Cole's deal. 3.5 M cap hit this year vs 4.5 M cap hit, so we also create a tad more cap room.
For those reasons, I think it's a good move. This opens up TONS of cap room for this summer. This tells me Bergevin was scared of Cole really declining in years 3 or 4 of his deal. Sort of like what we are seeing with Gionta now.
It's also possible Cole may have told the Habs FO that he would accept a trade to a US based team for family reasons (his daughter in high school angle that has been discussed).
We get slightly younger. It also another RH shot, something we were lacking.
Offensively it's probably a wash. Very similar numbers last season for both players, Ryder off to a better start this year.
Oh and Bruce Garrioch...actually had a legit trade rumor that came to fruition.