Ian Cole: 2021-22 By the Numbers
- Age: 33
- NHL Seasons: 11
- Scoring: 2 goals, 17 assists, 19 points in 75 games
- Playoff scoring: 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points in 14 games
- Advanced statistics: 57.96 CF%, 54.37 SCF%, 56.48 xGF%, 54.22 GF%
- Contract status: Unrestricted free agent
After seeing their season end at the hands of the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning in the past two seasons, the Carolina Hurricanes realized that Justin Williams wasn’t walking through that door – at least, not as a player. For all the playoff experience they had gained after wandering the wilderness for a decade, they were painfully short on grizzled veterans with Stanley Cups on their resumes. Jordan Staal is a superman, but even he can only do so much on his own.
Enter Ian Cole, the well-traveled defenseman who won two Cups with the Penguins and was universally regarded as one of the better locker-room guys in the NHL. The Hurricanes signed Cole to a one-year deal to do pretty much exactly what he delivered: anchor the third pairing, play with an edge, and gobble up some minutes to allow the likes of Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce to catch their breath without being a total horror show.
Through the season a three-way rotation developed among Cole, Brendan Smith and Ethan Bear to make up the third pairing, when all were healthy. Cole was the constant, only missing…