Erik Cole was traded to the Dallas Stars Tuesday evening, arrived in Dallas Wednesday morning, and Thursday he is expected to make his Stars debut at American Airlines Center.
“Definitely a busy 24 hours, getting back and getting some things packed up, saying goodbye to the family. There was the early flight here this morning, meeting with the doctors and getting the full tour. Cole said at the Stars’ practice facility in Frisco Wednesday afternoon. “It will be nice to have my head hit the pillow tonight, get a good rest, come to the rink anxious to get on the ice, have a good morning skate and be ready to go tomorrow night”
Cole, acquired from Montreal for Michael Ryder and a third round pick, said there will be nothing fancy when he hits the ice against the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night.
“I’ll try to go out tomorrow night and not try to reinvent the wheel or anything, but just play my game and do the things that help me be successful,” Cole said.
Cole had a lot of success in Montreal last season, scoring a career-high 35 goals. He was off to a slow start in Montreal this season, registering just three goals and three assists in 19 games. He thinks things were turning around lately, and hopes to continue the trend in Dallas.
“I feel like there was a small group of us on the team struggling to find our chemistry that we had the previous year,” Cole said. “I feel like over the last four, five, six games I’ve been playing a much better brand of hockey, more my style and more assertive.”
The Stars think Cole’s style of hockey will provide a power forward element to the lineup.
“He’s a big, strong guy that likes to go to the net,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “He plays hard, gives us size, speed and strength. That will be a nice acquisition for us.”
Gulutzan said he was still contemplating his options as far as where Cole will play Thursday night, but said the left-handed Cole will likely play right wing.
“He’s a left shot that plays on the right side,” said Gulutzan. “I’ve got some ideas and I am going to sit down and think about it. I would guess the right side.”
Cole had to waive his limited no-trade clause to accept the deal to Dallas, and he spent some time on the phone with Stars forward Ray Whitney – a teammate with the Carolina Hurricanes – to get a sense of more than just the hockey side of things in Dallas.
“We talked about the city, the schooling, the area in which he is living in terms of for the family,” said Cole. “This isn’t a situation where I am here for just the remainder of the season and then I am done. I have two years left on my contract. This being a very family friendly area was definitely helpful. Obviously, we talked about on the ice, how he likes the transition, the teammates, the coaching staff, everything, the set up. All got glowing reviews.”
Leaving Montreal was tough because leaving teammates is always tough.
“What’s the worst part about the trade? It’s having to say goodbye to the guys you hang out with and spend a majority of your time with and have a lot of laughs with,” he said. “It’s a great group there and had some real fun times, despite how many low points we hit last year. We were still able to enjoy each other. That speaks volumes for the character of the guys there.”
But now he has a new set of teammates and he’s looking forward to the new challenge.
“In the conversations that I’ve had with Joe (Nieuwendyk) and Mark Recchi called me today, they are as excited as I am,” Cole said. “It’s going to be nice to come to the rink tomorrow and not have any worries. I am going to put on my gear and go play, play as hard as I can and see what happens.”
Michael Ryder reacts to trade
Michael Ryder met with the Montreal media Wednesday morning to talk about his trade from the Dallas Stars to the Montreal Canadiens.
“It’s different. I didn’t expect what happened to happen,” Ryder told reporters. “It’s my first time getting traded. As it all sinks in, I am pretty excited to be back. This is where I got drafted, where I started my career. It’s good to get back and start a new page, I guess. “
Ryder said he found out about the trade as he was getting ready to head to the rink in Columbus on Tuesday.
“It caught me off guard,” he said. “It’s part of the game and you have to accept it.”
Ryder had no points, no shots and a minus-one rating in 12:54 of playing time as Montreal defeated Toronto, 5-2, Wednesday night.