UFA options - Erik Cole


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2008 - Erik Cole 80 18 24 42 0 73 5 0 1 1 178 10.1



Advanced ES Stats: QUAL COMP +0.01, QUAL TEAM +0.18, +1.5 corsi, 1.82 ESP/60

PDO: 100.6 (EDM), 100.3 (CAR)

Background

Formerly a strong - albeit injury prone - ES outscorer, Cole had a dreadful season relative to his prior efforts. Things turned around for him a bit when he returned to Carolina (although he also had a dreadful post season) but his time in Edmonton was mostly ill-spent. His corsi number was healthy considering a majority of the club was well under water, but he failed to become the "final puzzle piece" to push Ales Hemsky into elite territory.

Strengths

Prior to the most recent campaign, Cole scored at a very strong rate 5-on-5. In 05/06, he managed 30 goals in 60 games with only 3 of them coming on the PP. The following year, he managed 29 goals in 71 games. He was a 22 goal scorer his final full year in CAR before being dealt for Joni Pitkanen at the deadline, a total probably more indicative of his abilities given the SH% he enjoyed during his 30 goal season (18%). 

For whatever reason, Cole stepped into the proverbial elevator shaft in Oilers colors. oddly enough, I "saw him good" this year as a Flames fan: he frequently drove possession and looked like one of the strongest Oilers on the ice whenever he faced Calgary. Fo whatever reason, though, the results weren't there and he was moved back to CAR where he scored at a near PPG pace for the rest of the regular season (playing with Eric Staal didn't hurt).

Cole's assests as a player are strong skating and tenacity along the boards. He's good at winning the puck during battles and doesn't shy from physical play. He's also relatively young (30), at least compared to some of the other UFA options in the Flames price range this summer. 

Weaknesses

Besides the aforementioned drop-off in play, Cole has never managed to play a full 82 game season. He's also never been much on the PP, with last year's rate of 2.65 PPP/60 ranking below a capable defenseman's efficiency. Given his struggles in EDM, there's also a suggestion that he may be reliant on strong linemates for his production levels: his results were favorable prior to and after his stint up North and it's probably a good bet to think he was skating with better guys in both cases. And although I don't put too much stock in play-off production, Cole has managed all of 6 goals and 14 points in 43 post season games (0.32 PPG), which is really quite awful.

Verdict

Assuming this past year was an aberration, Cole would be a good option for the Flames. He'll be more sought after and more expensive than some of the other options and there's also a strong possibility he won't be too excited about returning to Alberta after his awful turn in the Shelbyville. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Hurricanes re-sign him.

 

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