36-Year-Old Right Wing – Free Agent
Erik Cole Contract Information:
Became an unrestricted free agent in July 2015.
Cole (spinal cord contusion) is reportedly done for the season, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports.
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Erik Cole: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Erik Cole.
Cole remains a player with the ability to surprise, but at 36, he's in the twilight of his career. With two 30-goal campaigns far behind him, it will be tough for him to offer much more than the 16 goals and 13 assists he produced last season. Those aren't bad numbers and deep fantasy teams may have a role for him, but he's clearly not the player he once was. Part of that lowered expectation is that he may be relegated to a third-line role for secondary scoring with the addition of Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky to the lineup. Cole is good for 30 points, but not 30 goals.
Cole's 35-goal outburst from 2011-12 is long since forgotten and resulted in a mid-season trade to Dallas for Michael Ryder. Cole scored just six goals in 28 games with Dallas, skating largely on the third line, and seems destined for a similar role this season given Dallas' offseason acquisitions. He'll be hard-pressed to reach the 20-goal plateau if he sticks on the third line as expected.
Cole started his first season in Montreal slowly, posting with just four points in the first 11 games, but, once he got comfortable, he was the club's best player from November through to April. Cole led the team in goals with 35, was second in points (61) and was a prototypical power forward, leading all Montreal forwards in hits. The veteran easily meshed with younger stars David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty to form Montreal's top line. New head coach Michel Therrien would be nuts to break up that productive unit.
The Canadiens signed Cole to a four-year deal in the offseason, confident after the 32-year-old winger played a full season after an upper-body injury wiped out half of his 2009-10 season. An established NHL goal scorer, Cole scored 26 times for the Hurricanes last season while connecting with the back of the net on 13 percent of his shots. The Canadiens could use another threat and Cole should find himself on the top line, likely with Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri.
If there are fantasy leagues that give points to players that hit the disabled list, Cole would be a valuable commodity. It's really a shame that he's a red flag because of proneness to injury, but the numbers don't lie: Cole's only logged 57 games in the past two seasons, totaling a measly 31 points over that span. Still, opportunists might find this to be a good time to hedge their bets on Cole to have a bounce-back season. His fantasy value has never been lower, so you can get him for some spare change in deep fantasy leagues, knowing that if he could just stay away from the team doctor, one more season of 40 points wouldn't be asking too much from the 31 year old.
The Hurricanes love recycling their players and Cole is a prime example. He was originally shipped to Edmonton in July 2008 so that the ‘Canes could acquire defenseman Joni Pitkanen, but Cole returned to Raleigh for another stint with the team in March 2009. Cole’s veteran status and blazing speed makes him an ideal fit if you need a fourth forward in fantasy hockey, although you should monitor all bumps and bruises that he sustains.
Huge addition by Edmonton. Gives them the proven veteran goal scorer they need. Only question with Cole is if he can stay healthy. Whether Cole plays left or right wing he can safely be drafted as a number three or four wing.
Cole remains one of the more valuable members of the Hurricanes, on a per-game basis. The key is figuring out how many games he'll play, given his injury history and his aggressive (and therefore injury-prone) style of play. We're projecting about the same number of games for this year, on the assumption that he knows how to take care of himself.
For the rest of his career, Cole's outlook will always be guarded, because of the nature of his injury -- essentially, a broken neck. He showed in his second game back on the ice last June that he can take and deliver hits. We expect more than a point per game this season; we just don't know how many games that will be.
Cole is one of a group of fine young players who will make the Hurricanes a much better team in about two years. He uses his size well, and offers the whole package -- scoring plus PIM -- albeit on a relatively modest scale. His upside potential makes him worth considering for a late-round pick.