ERIK COLE MAKES TOO MUCH SENSE FOR THE LA KINGS

On November 25, 2010, I wrote about Erik Cole and how I wanted him to fill our left wing need.

I love Erik Cole. His speed, his two-way game, his ability to bury the puck and his leadership. He has a ring. He got that with Justin Williams.

The fact he is a left wing only endears me to him more.

Add to that he played all 82 games this past season. No injury issues, knock wood. He put up 26 goals and 26 points on a playoff bubble team, at best. He took 201 shots on goal. That is a .129 percentage. That is impressive.

“Why wouldn’t the Hurricanes just sign Cole?”

NHL economics.

They have Jussi Jokinen, Joni Pitkanen and Chad LaRose in addition to Erik Cole to worry about. They are a small market team that cannot sustain a big market payroll especially without playoff appearances to keep the fan base coming. If people don’t walk in through the gate, the bottom line suffers. Carolina’s bottom line is suffering.

Now, let’s move to Erik Cole. He is 32 years old. His next contract may be his last contract. He needs security for himself and family. Ideally, he wants 4-5 years, $3.5 to $4 million. He was paid just under $3 million last season. He also put up solid numbers after struggling with injuries the two prior. What’s he worth? $3.5 to $4 million, 3-4 years. He is exactly the “mid-range” Ryan Smyth replacement the LA Kings need although I would understand if Dean struggles going beyond 3 years with Cole, even with the slim pickings reality of the current UFA crop.

Coincidentally, another option is another Carolina Hurricane left wing in Jussi Jokinen. 5 years younger, about the same point totals and comparable to Cole except I would take Erik’s physical two-way game and consistency. Cole is simply a better fit.

For my money, Erik Cole makes a ton of sense. I proposed it back in November. I am doing so again today. Kopitar, Williams, Richards, Brown and Cole is one hell of a 5 out of 6. If Dustin Penner gets his act together, that is a top 6 I would put up against Vancouver and San Jose any game, any time, regardless of the stakes. Does Dean do it? GO KINGS!



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23 replies

  1. We can afford 2 LWs with the cap room we have. Leino? Gagne? Pick one to go with Cole and Drew still gets plenty of money.

    Having 2 lines that bruise you (Brown, Richards), play 2 ways (Kopi, Richards) and have are composed entirely of 20 goal scorers each (although I expect more from Kopi 25, sure. 30, yes. 35, hmmm maybe to much to hope for) is a mighty fine thing.

    If Parse is what Dean hopes, suddenly we’re a pretty good combination of bashing and sniping. I like that. Until Coach M turns our top 6 into the premier back checking dynamo that is needed to offset our incredibly dreadful defensive structure. What, our defense isn’t porous? TM won’t care — it’all about the back checking, the shot mentality, and the umbrella power play.

    Every time I get super excited about the upcoming season, I suddenly remember who our coach is. Sigh.

    This is every bit as bad as being a freakin’ Cubs fan. Ugh.

    • For the love of God, what is it with you and Gagne? It’s like Gaborik with less upside.

      • Just a man crush?

        I think he works well as a cog in a machine and doesn’t need to be “The Man”. That’s the type of player I like. He’s been a solid 2 way guy in the past as well.

        (I’d actually prefer somebody in the 26-29 age range as I think that once you cross 30 it takes a remarkable player to continue to dominate. This is part of my problem with Cole.)

        Ok, ok, the best I can come up wit is that he’d give Bernier a soulmate to spek French with.

        I could certainly live with Leino and even Bergenheim, easily. Both should be affordable. And, let’s face it, you can win without at least a few players that have spent time in Finnland.

        Ok, just a man crush. And the fact that I might be an idiot.

        Who else is out that that’s a pure LW that you’d take a chance on? I don’t like the idea of moving people about — we’ve seen TM try to move LWs to RWs and Cs to *W without much success.

        Ok, I’m just an idiot.

        Jim

    • Why does everyone insist on calling our power play an umbrella? It is not an umbrella. We have two players stuck on the points like in a standard 5v5 setup.

      An umbrella has a pointy end, that is represented as one player playing a high-center point position. It also has two edges, represented by two flankers on each side of the high-center man, but slightly lower in the zone. It’s a good way to create some width and depth, and facilitate passing back and forth up high in a triangle, and setting up for big one-time bombs.

      What we have is two points at the same depth, with one QB at the hash marks, making shitty bouncing passes to a heavily covered point man who tries to blast a shot through 3 sets of shin pads. Just because you take point shots doesn’t mean it is an umbrella.

      • And I realize the coaching staff calls it an umbrella too. /rant

        • My kind of rant. Nicely done

          • In the coaching staffs minds it is.

            I think the umbrella term is used because DD, and JJ are supposed to bring it to the middle, up top, and the 1/2 board stationary targets move slightly to get a onetimer if possible, thus 3 end up stacked across the top till they find their regular set up again.

            As soon as they do that though, the opposition cuts off oneside, with a defender going strait at the puck carrier. They can’t shoot or pass to oneside, so they rotate back to the 4 point corner set up with a player in front of the net, and start over, or just force a shot, and hope it finds its way through.

          • Call it whatever you wish, it still sucks…

  2. I like the idea of Erik Cole, especially since the crop of LWs seems a bit weak. Cole is gritty and he does have Cup experience. but they one thing he is as well is very smart. He’s not the kind of guy that takes stupid penalties or makes risky decisions in the offensive zone leading to turnovers and odd man rushes.

    The one thing I liked about Smyth (too soon?) is his smart play in the offensive zone. When that Smyth/Stoll/Williams line was churning things were going well for the Kings. If we could get Cole that would definitely solidify the top six.

    I just hope your (and my) understanding of what “mid-range” means is the same as DL.

  3. I do agree that Cole is the best LW option out there, I’ve been looking at other players, even centers that we could fill in the LW spot…..But Cole is truely the best option.

    Laich………………..same size 6’2″ 200lbs, only 2 20+goal seasons….But a Center
    Connelly……………Unbelievable skill….Center, Injuries and not a sniper
    Fleischmann………Should score alot with Richards or Kopi, but again…Center
    Miettinen…………..Might score more than Fleischmann, speedy….but softer than Cole
    Leino………………..NHL, no problem………Sniper NO, setup guy…..not the right fit
    Ryder……………….If he could move over to the Left wing, maybe, but another square peg
    Brunette …………..Veteran stepping into Smyth’s role……..May be too old
    Ponikarovsky…….Kovalchuk light turned into Kovalchuk’s Tight’s, No Way
    Gagne……………….NOW, here’s my thought’s……Cole is our best option due to fit and Culture
    But here is a 30 year old, like Williams; having been beaten up with injuries to the point where his name doesn’t ring like it used to. DL loves guy’s like this. And he know’s Gagne from Philly as does TM & JS. Gagne is the most dominant player available IF healthy. Played well with Richards when in the lineup, gives us that veteran at 30, so still young but needed now that Smyth and Zues are not there. This is a Hockey STAR!!!!! He’s headed for early retirement if he can’t get it together, so his motivation could be like Williams, and Willy got rewarded.
    My Money is on Gagne…..Knowing our Coaching staff, our GM and Richards and Willy here,,,,,
    No Brainer!!!!!

  4. Cole would be nice but recent reports seem to indicate he’s going to stay with Carolina since they are way under the cap floor. Looks like they may have to resign Jokinen too. It may just be Gagne is the best choice if these guys do indeed sign. The question is will Gagne want to come here? Didn’t he refuse to waive his no trade a couple seasons ago to come play for LA?

  5. I wouldn’t mind Cole at all, but only at the right price. To me, at this point in his career, he’s not worth a cap hit of more than $3m/y, and I think I’m being generous with that number. Good two-way player, but he’s way on the wrong side of 30. I’m not sure he can stay as durable as he has been to this point, and at 32, we know he’s not getting any better. Still, if the Kings wanted to go the short term route, Cole would be a great option.

    Also, you can count me among those who aren’t Gagne fans. 31 years old, a sure bet to miss a decent chunk of games, declining offensive skills, nonexistent defensive skills. I’d rather have Cole.

    If the Kings decide they want to go the longer-term route, what about Tyler Kennedy, a RW/C who was not offered a QO by Pittsburgh? 24 years old, 21 goals, 24 assists last year. Clutch playoff performer. Fits right in with the Kings core age group. He’s not the greatest defensive player, but if the Kings want to go with a younger player who is just entering his prime, Kennedy would be a good fit. I’m guessing he re-ups with the Pens, but he’s worth a look I’d think.

      • they didnt tender him a offer thou?, can you explain too me how they still have his rights?

        • I am kind of interested, but Kennedy has only had 1 full season. One does have to ask, why would they sign a Dupuis who is 32, and scored 37 points, with 1 point in the playoffs, over Kennedy who is 24 and scored 45 points, with 3 in the playoffs. Seems like, with their capspace, they had a choice between one or the other, since they gave Dupuis what Kennedy was asking for. Does Kennedy want more?

          • In fairness to Dupuis, his point totals do not do him justice as a player. He is a top notch defensive forward, and most of his value comes from his contributions there, not on the offensive side – even though he’s no slouch there either. Still, I’m about as perplexed by Pittsburgh’s decision here as you are. I guess they just didn’t see room for him moving forward.

        • Yeah I read That too. Pretty sure Kennedy is about to be outright UFA class something or other.

          • Yep, that’s why mentioned him. Pitt basically relinquished his rights and he is now a UFA, from what I understand. They also say they’re going to try and resign him, but of course they’re going to say that. Why wouldn’t they just extend him a QO and make him a RFA? I was really surprised by this move and would love for the Kings to take advantage.

    • I disagree about Gagne’s defense. He plays smart defense from What I’ve seen. Knows how to position himself to get in lanes and hustled on backchecks. But then affinity, its been a few years since I’ve seen him play much… all comes back to the injuries.

      • In fairness to Gagne, it’s tough to play defense or offense when you are injured at least 1/2 a season on a regular basis. Let’s give the poor guy a break, right? Right?

  6. Joni Pitkanen just signed for 3 years, $4.5M per season. Still think they re-sign Cole? I don’t know man, unless he takes a serious discount, I don’t see him staying.

  7. Jokinen is much closer to the core group in age. He also adds much needed speed to the top 6.

    Both should be better than Smyth for the Kings. Smyth just couldn’t keep up with the speed of the NHL for 82 games. Great first half, terrible 2nd half and then got a second wind for the first round.

    Career numbers are similar. You get more goals from Cole, but more assists from Jokinen.

    Jokinen:
    457 103 186 289
    0.23 0.41 0.63

    Cole:
    620 184 206 390
    0.30 0.33 0.63

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  1. ERIK COLE IS GOING TO TEST THE FREE AGENT MARKET « S U R L Y & S C R I B E L.A. Kings Hockey Blog
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