LET’S SPECULATE: ERIK COLE

As I watched Dwight King last night on the 1st line and grew progressively angrier, my mind drifted to other pastures and landed in Carolina. There, I looked around and found a veteran player who was recently traded back to the Hurricanes (after only a year of being traded by them) for Patrick O’Sullivan and a second round pick. Recall that O’Sullivan was traded by the Kings earlier that day for Justin Williams and a second rounder. The latter trade was much criticized then by those who call themselves hockey experts within the mainstream media as well as O’Sullivan apologists but heralded by long time Kings’ fans (including Surly & I) as one of Lombardi’s best.

Back to Trickle.

He is a left-wing.

Obviously, you know he won the Cup in 2005-2006 with Carolina. His teammate then was our beloved right-winger, Justin Williams. I can tell you’re already (“so, that means Smyth can go back with Kopitar, which worked so well for Kopi’s game last season, holy hell, Bobby is a genius!”) catching on.

An incredible skater. Ever seen the wind on ice? That’s Erik Cole.

Great seasons in 05-06 and 06-07 seasons with 30 goals and 29 goals, respectively. Struggled a bit since then. Didn’t do much with the Oilers. He only had 27 points in 63 game before being traded back to Carolina. In fairness though, it was the Oilers, so…you know…

Last season, he played 40 games with the Hurricanes after fracturing his leg. He does have injury issues, including neck problems but, as I see it, his value to the Hurricanes (a team that, like Cole, has been treading water) is not very much. Erik Cole turned 32 this month. His best fit is with a contending team looking to solidify its left-wing position and add offensive depth with a responsible two-way forward. The Hurricanes are hardly that. The Kings are exactly that. I realize the Hurricanes are still 10th in the Eastern Conference and not exactly out of it though they are spiraling downward. I didn’t say the arrangement was perfect. Trading partners rarely are.

The Kings have a history of transactions with the ‘Canes. Jack Johnson and Justin Williams are both recent history.

Dean Lombardi covets players like Cole who bring a complete game, have had a history of success (proven by Dean’s standards), and offer the opportunity for Nordstrom Rack type of deals (that reference was thrown out without any personal knowledge of same), not cheap but affordable, come on, you get what I am saying here.

He recently gave Drew Doughty a concussion so that’s something, right? You know, if it doesn’t work out, we can hang Cole up in the locker room like a Piñata and give Drew the broom stick.

This season, Cole has put up 4 goals and 6 assists for 10 points on a struggling Carolina team. Not bad. He is a +3.

“Who goes the other way?” I can hear you asking. I don’t know yet mostly because I am not sure what Carolina needs, other than an enema. I do find it interesting that the Ducks recently traded Ryan Carter (a center) to the Hurricanes for a couple of minor leaguers. Thus, Carolina has already built a momentum of wheeling and dealing. Teams generally do that in anticipation of bigger transactions. I also look at Cole’s contract – he signed it in 2009, only a two-year deal worth $5.8 million. He is earning $3 million of that this season. He is a UFA this summer so his value is purely that of a rental for now. I see a mid level prospect and a fourth. No, not Brayden Schenn. Cole has value beyond a rental because he could be a good re-signing and be cognizant of the fact that signing him here may further motivate (even if it’s only a little) Justin Williams to stay put and not test the free agent waters.

So, what do you say boys? Think about it in between the helpings of turkey, yams, and mashed potatoes. Step away from the Coors or Bud Light. Grab yourself a Stone Ruination and ruminate, “So, Bobby thinks we should get Erik Cole…interesting…[sip] damn, this beer is good. Love that Scribe fella…”

GO KINGS!



Categories: L.A. Kings News

Tags: , ,

11 replies

  1. Canes are spiraling downward? Cole has no value to the Canes? Wow, I didn’t know all of this.

    -Canes Fans

  2. Sounds like a good idea with little downside. Generally speaking, I hesitate to criticize professional coaches (often not winning has more to do with the players on the ice and they do the best they can with what they have to work with). But, it is getting very difficult not to be disappointed in Terry Murray’s judgment and ongoing experiments at left wing. Reaching into the minors out of desperation has been a dumb idea. Decisions lately seem more random than logical.

  3. We have to find a reliable left wing, and end all this experimentation. Since we don’t appear to have one in the organization ready to step up to the opportunity, then we have to find one in the league, and we are going to have to give up assets to get him.

  4. I think honestly the only reason you’d have to worry about Williams testing free agency is if Dean says he isn’t interested. He’s usually very nice about waiting to get signed if he likes where he’s at.

    Cole on the other hand, is a b$%#@ to sign. And not cheap. Right now he’s on a 3mil/season contract, which is better than his usual 4mil/season, but a lot of Kings fans argued that Williams is overpaid at 3.5mil/season. (On the other hand I think 6.8mil/season for Kopitar is a bit much. What do I know.)

    When it comes down to it, either you find a way to make out like a bandit trading for Cole, or you pay through the nose to sign him.

    Offer Williams a long term deal and he’s probably got a pen with him. He’s not typically a big money-maker to begin with. He was making something in the neighborhood of 1.9mil/season when he won the Cup. He got lucky with the 3.5mil/season for 5 seasons. At the time he was signing a contract the same length as Brind’Amour’s.

    Your only real obstacle to keeping Williams, if they make him an offer, may be TM.

    • Well I have mixed responses here:
      1) I agree on the premise of starting to look around the league to find some missing pieces, esp. left wing. Really a necessity at this point.
      2) At 32 years old I don’t Lombardi will see him as a “core” player. Next summer may have much better choices (no Kovalchuk was not the guy), but Cole could be an important piece just for this season.
      3) I want Justin Williams to do well. I respect how hard he has worked and persevered. But he’ll have to make a contribution this year to be worth signing. He’s done well so far (excellent really), but he will have to sustain that. For clarity, I want him to do well but it remains to be seen how he’ll do over the course of a season and playoffs. So basically, he will determine his own value for the team.
      4) I’m not sure how TM would be a factor here. How could he disparage Justin at this point? Justin has been his highest scoring offensive player. So how could TM be an obstacle?

      But we do agree that DM has to do something smart here…

      • In response to:

        1.) I’m not so sure the missing piece is a winger. I really think Kopitar could take a game over if he wanted to. It’s a matter of him realizing that and actually wanting to. Maybe the missing piece is actually right here and we don’t see it yet.

        2.) (I’ve been a Hurricanes fan since 2004) Cole is a very good player, if he has a center on his level. Sort of like Kopitar in that sense, I suppose. For instance, Staal/Cole/Pickaplayer usually worked well. (for that matter, Williams/Brind’Amour was a set-in-stone duo as well) Would I consider him a core player? Uh, no. Not even in 2006. I’m all in favor of you guys picking up Cole and giving him a shot, because you certainly could do much worse. Hopefully, he’d be what it took to give the Kings 2 good lines.

        3.) I really hope TM leaves well enough alone and JWill stays on Stoll’s line. Because that’s a lot closer to the situation he had when he logged both his 30 goal seasons. In Carolina he didn’t play much with Staal at all except on the powerplay. Even strength and penalty kill were spent with Brind’Amour. Williams paired with the top faceoff guy works out swimmingly for some reason. If that just makes him a second liner, oh well. That’s a darned good second line.

        4.) I don’t know that TM will be an issue. Just kind of wonder what went on at the end of last season between TM and JWill because they didn’t seem to be on the best of terms. If that blew over then you’re golden.

        • Loved your perspective as a Carolina fan. You have good instinct. The TM – Williams issue is behind us. Justin came back before he was ready. I think he knows this and TM had to do what was best for the team. I also agree the second line should stay put. The first line needs a left winger badly because Stoll has done nicely to fill what I actually thought was our biggest need in the offseason, a second line center. Stoll is streaky however so we will see. Losing Poni and Mitchell has not just substantively hurt the team’s depth but also its chemistry. Each had instant chemistry with the team and line mates. Very much square peg, square hole.

  5. Interesting comments. I would think that TM doesn’t have any antipathy towards JW because of last season. JW really gave it is best shot to come back before the playoffs but clearly was not ready. He was one of many Kings that did not look good in the playoffs with Vancouver.

    I hope there is a left winger within the organization that can work well on the first line but it seems that pretty much everyone has been tried including reaching (deep) into the minors. I would give Simmonds a shot but not sure TM will do that.

    Hopefully the Kings can come out of this rut, they’ve looked dreadful the last few games, almost have if they have to start over from the beginning of the season…

  6. You had me with Drew, the pinata and the broomstick. Let’s do this thing!

  7. Brown is your first line LW and he didn’t cost any assets. ;)

    Simmonds to the first line RW.

    Brown-Kopitar-Simmonds
    Smyth-Stoll-Williams
    Clifford-Handzus-Lewis
    King-Richardson-Westgarth

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,831 other followers

%d bloggers like this: