26-Year-Old Defenseman – Pittsburgh Penguins
Ian Cole Contract Information:
Re-signed with the Penguins on a three-year, $6.3 million contract in June of 2015.
Cole, who left Thursday's game early with a suspected head injury, will play against Islanders on Saturday.
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Ian Cole: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Cole is something of a favorite within the organization, but he’s rarely received the sustained run in the lineup necessary to make the most out of the size and strength he brings to the ice. Despite remaining on the NHL roster the entire season and dealing with no notable injuries, Cole appeared in just 46 games, and was a healthy scratch for the Blues’ first-round playoff series with the Blackhawks. The former first-rounder managed to contribute a respectable 11 points and a plus-15 rating in spot duty, but the latter figure was mostly by-product of matching up against inferior competition. He’ll be back with the Blues once again to compete for third-pairing or seventh-defenseman duties, with the uncertain ice time undermining most of his fantasy value.
Cole took a step back last season, notching just one point in 15 games with St. Louis. This minor setback didn't keep the Blues from signing him to a two-year contract in May, though. In 67 career games, the defenseman has 11 points and a plus-9 rating. The top six blueliners in St. Louis are pretty set, but Cole could make the team as a seventh guy or if an injury occurs. Regardless of his roster situation, he is not someone to target on draft day.
Cole has seen part-time duty with the Blues, playing 52 games total in his first two years with St. Louis. At some point, we're going to have to find out if Cole is ready for full-time duty on the blue line and that may come this season. The team looked to land a top-four defenseman in free agency, but that never materialized, therefore Cole could get a full-time role. The Blues are in a position to compete for the Western Conference finals and they must be certain Cole is ready for that job. There's some offense to his game, but he'll earn a full-time gig with attention in his own zone.
Cole, 21, played most of the season for the AHL Peoria Rivermen, but did make his NHL debut when injuries hit the St. Louis blue line. In 26 games, he registered four points and a plus-6, including a plus-8 in his final 13 games with the Blues. He’ll compete with Nikita Nikitin and Kent Huskins for the final two spots, but the Blues will want him playing every day rather than having him sit around as a seventh defenseman.
Cole, 21, got a taste of professional hockey when he joined the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL for the final nine games of their season. He left a good impression in his nine games, which isn't surprising. The Blues felt he was ready for the pro game last year, but he opted for one more year of college. He's got the size to be effective in his own end, but his real skill is in the transition game. Cole could probably use more time in the AHL, but he'll compete for the sixth defenseman job.
Cole, 20, will return to Notre Dame for his junior year, but the Blues feel he's ready physically to make the leap to the professional game. He has a reputation as a sturdy defender, good in the corners and in front of the net, but can also rush the puck. He's developed his offensive game in college, scoring 46 points (14, 32) in 81 games with the Irish.
Cole will spend 2008-09 as a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame. He is probably at least two seasons away from playing in the NHL.
The 18-year old is a stay-at-home defenseman with strong passing skills. He is not expected to crack the Blues' roster for at least a couple of seasons. He will spend at least one more season at the NCAA level, playing for the University of Notre Dame.
Cole has a cannon for a shot and plays with moxy. But we're not so sure he'll develop into anything more than a stay-at-home pulverizer. Mind you, he has quick feet, good vision and can make those tasty stretch passes so there's always hope. He's going to need a full four years at college to mature his game.