The Dallas Stars have traded left wing Erik Cole and a conditional third-round pick in 2015 to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a second-round pick in 2015 and Swedish prospects Mattias Backman and Mattias Janmark.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With forwards Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and Darren Helm currently sidelined, it was speculated the Red Wings could put more of a priority upon landing a physical forward with a decent scoring touch than a top-four defenseman. This move bears out that thinking.
Cole, 36, is an eight-time 40-plus point player who is on pace to reach 25 goals and 45 points this season. He also led the Stars in hits this season so his physical style will be most welcome on the Wings.
Cole is slated to be an unrestricted free agent in July. It remains to be seen if he’ll return with the Stars this summer, but this move suggests management is waving the white flag over its playoff chances by shipping him out before the trade deadline. They get a decent return in two prospects and a second-rounder.