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.