My first impression of the Ryder/Cole swap was undoubtedly influenced by my lasting feeling that Michael Ryder is the worst 30-goal scorer in the NHL. Also, I am still impacted by how terrific Cole was on a horrible team last year. Power forward dot com.
But this year Cole has struggled. Struggled with his own sense of belonging in the NHL and I can assure you his comments after the lockout ended had me fearing that his commitment to the game had faded. Fades only work if you happen to be Kid n' Play. For Cole, it spelled multiple endings. The end of his reign as the team's best player. It spelled the end of the first line. It spelled the end of life in Montreal.
In return we get a younger, more prolific, cheaper player with a UFA tag at year's end. We get a guy who needs little adjustment to the insanity that is Montreal. We get a power play specialist who can revive a lackluster squad. We get a happy go lucky on the verge of aloof guy who players always enjoyed in the room.
Contract wise, it's the ying to Gauthier's yang. It's a public disavowal of the Cole signing. It's the removal of what everyone was saying about the trade: we would hate it in its last 2 years.
So Bravo to Cole for giving everything last year. A marvel to watch. Congrats to Bergevin for knowing when to draw a line and for striving for continuous improvement.
Welcome back, Captain Aloof.