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…”