Penguins Lock Up Ian Cole
Quick update today is a great update, in my opinion.
The Penguins re-upped defenseman Ian Cole to a three-year, $6.3 million dollar deal with an AAV of $2.1 million. The 26 year-old was acquired at last year's Trade Deadline from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Robert Bortuzzo.
Cole was originally slated to be either a six or seventh defenseman, but do to injuries to Olli Maatta, Kris Letang, and Christian Ehrhoff, was forced to step up into a top-four role. Despite the increased playing time and new role, Cole performed well posting eight points (1G, 7A) in 20 games with the Penguins. During the 2014-15 season, Cole put up career highs in goals (5), assists (12), and points (17) while remaining at a plus-14.
The versatile Ann Arbor, Michigan native found a change of scenery in Pittsburgh and became quite the locker room guy. This three-year deal comes in at a reasonable price for talented defenseman and sures up on hole heading into free agency on Wednesday.
Personal opinion on Ian Cole:
I love the signing. I know that as a Penguins fan, we are supposed to love all signings, but that simply isn't true.
However, with Cole, I was impressed by him from game one in a black and gold sweater. He can skate well, has a hard shot and is not afraid to jump in offensively. He is a character guy that can agitate the opposition as well as inspire the team. Defensively, he is aggressive and solid on the back-end.
Not to mention that he is still young (26) and has some of his best days ahead of him. What this does for the rumors of a Paul Martin return or even a Sergei Gonchar returns remains to be seen, but I assume that it all but silences those rumors.
Seeing Cole for a full season should be a treat and don't be surprised if his offensive game really takes off during the upcoming season.
Great signing by the Penguins and certainly has me excited moving forward.
After a day filled with trade rumors including Phil Kessel, T.J. Oshie, Patrick Sharp, and Jeff Skinner, to name a few, it appears the Pittsburgh Penguins will not be making a deal by the end of June 26.
General Manager Jim Rutherford was quoted as saying, "I don't expect anything to happen tonight" and had mentioned that teams are inquiring about their stockpiled young defensemen. Rutherford also added that the Penguins must be patient to acquire the player they believe will help the organization in the future.
While the news may be disappointing to some fans, myself included to a degree, there is a silver lining.
It does not say "did have." It says "has had," and in my eyes, that means talks are continuing, just stopping for the night. So, for those blockbuster deals that have been rumored, there could still be a chance, but timing is everything.
Tomorrow, the Penguins will make their first selection of the draft at 46th overall in the second round. Whether or not a move is made is to be seen, but as for tonight, Rutherford seems content to lie low and see what could happen sometime down the road.
Pre-Draft: Final Thoughts
We are three hours away from the 2015 NHL Entry Draft from Sunrise, FL and the Penguin rumors have been hard and heavy all day long. The week long #KesselWatch, along with more details on a potential deal with the St. Louis Blues involving Brandon Sutter and T.J. Oshie. There's also a tidbit that the Penguins, along with Montreal Canadiens, are the two most pushing for Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp.
Below are some tweets to drive any fan crazy with anticipation:
A lot to take in and a lot to mull over.
Whether the Penguins make a deal or not tonight does not determine their off-season success or failures. The lack of assets to trade away, probable unwillingness to trade either young defenseman in Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta. It's not so easy to just dump Brandon Sutter, Chris Kunitz, and/or Rob Scuderi.
So, do the Penguins make a trade tonight during Round 1? Do they wait until tomorrow after gauging the level of interest on the floor tonight? A lot of questions to be asked and potentially no answers to be had.
While Kessel and Oshie seem to be the biggest names floating around, that could all be speculative. Remember #PariseWatch, and #JagrWatch, and #KeslerWatch, and most recently, #KaneWatch? If I remember correctly, the Pens are batting 0-for-4 on these "watches", so call me reserved on whether a deal is done with these Olympians.
Sharp seems like a long-shot, but one can't deny that a right-handed shot would look alongside Evgeni Malkin, while David Perron lines up with Sidney Crosby.
Another name that has been floating around is Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner. The young winger who has had a slew of concussion issues could be a valuable player on the Penguins, if he can stay healthy. And it's not just him that would need to stay healthy either. While "nothing is imminent", Skinner's name is thrown out there.
Regarding free agency, the big news coming out of Pittsburgh is that they plan to add KHL winger, Sergei Plotnikov. This move does not seem like it will be the top-6 solution that everyone is looking for, but it should make Evgeni Malkin happy to have a fellow Russian on the team once again.
I saw on Twitter last night that the Pens may be interested in Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward. I personally like Ward, especially if he can be had for a cheap price. If he's looking for a raise or an absurd number/term, then pass.
Other names that have popped up have been Tyler Kennedy, Michael Frolik, Sergei Gonchar, Justin Williams, etc. Whether or not these names have any traction remains to be seen, but I'm sure we'll find out come July 1.
Very simply; whatever the Penguins do or do not tonight, it must be a smart decision. They are limited on assets to nab the big names being tossed around. They have already risked their future, more or less, in trading away draft picks for the "win-now" philosophy. They have four picks this draft and three contracts that they desperately want to dump, at least two guaranteed.
Are Kessel, Sharp, Oshie, Skinner and other big names enticing? Of course. Do they fix the issues? Possibly. Is it worth imploding the roster and future once again? No.
Whatever happens, happens. Half will be happy, half will be upset. The wonderful life of being a Pittsburgh Penguins fan.
Adam Williams. B.A. and M.S. from LHU. Pens fan/devils advocate. Self-proclaimed #Pensimist