The Montreal Canadiens have dealt right wing Erik Cole to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Michael Ryder and a third round pick. Analysis to follow

Michael Ryder returns to the Canadiens.

Michael Ryder returns to the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hey, kids, it’s an honest-to-goodness hockey trade!  Cole had been struggling this season, even apologizing to his teammates for his poor play. Of late he seemed to have good chemistry with Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk, but the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported Sunday the Canadiens would like to shed his $4.5 million per season salary. Ryder’s had a strong start this season with the Stars, with 14 points in 19 games, but is slated to become a UFA this summer, and there was talk the Stars could move him. Looks like the Habs shed salary for a more affordable offensive upgrade, while the Stars get a proven player in return.