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Erik Cole traded to Dallas Stars in exchange for Michael Ryder

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In a bit of news that comes completely out of nowhere, the Erik Cole is no longer a Montreal Canadien.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

According to Bob McKenzie, Marc Bergevin has made his first major trade as GM of the Montreal Canadiens, sending Erik Cole to the Dallas Stars in exchange for former Hab Michael Ryder.

Michael Ryder is off to a much quicker start than Erik Cole , with 6 goals and 8 assists in 19 games. Ryder also happens to be two years younger than Cole.

I'm not going to judge this trade too harshly yet, as I'll have to take a look at the underlying statistics of both players before I say anything too harsh, but my instinct is that it's not a positive trade from a talent perspective, but isn't a bad trade either.

Ryder put up near identical counting stats to Cole last season, so that's not much of a concern, but I must say that I'm shocked to see a guy like Cole jettisoned so quickly.

The trade gives the Canadiens $1M in extra cap space, and since Ryder is a UFA at season's end the Habs are no longer on the hook for Cole's $4.5M the next two seasons.

It seems like a bit of a salary dump from that perspective, and that combined with a looming buyout for Tomas Kaberle, and the bridge contract for P.K. Subban, has given the Canadiens a lot more wiggle room in the cap crunch for next year than when Bergevin began the season.

Ryder left the Canadiens as a UFA after the 2007-08 season on terrible terms with the club, as Guy Carbonneau had relegated him to the 4th line for an entire year, and Bob Gainey didn't even bother to call him and thank him for his service as a Hab.

Hopefully Ryder's competitive fire is up for some redemption under the Habs' new management group.

Ryder won a Stanley Cup with the... Bruins... in 2011.

The Canadiens also receive a 3rd round pick in the deal.