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Lightning vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Cole Expects to Return Next Season

Friday, 05.29.2009 / 11:44 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Cole Expects to Return Next Season
Following his exit interview with GM Jim Rutherford, Erik Cole seemed confident that he would re-sign with the Hurricanes this summer.

Paul Branecky
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As an unrestricted free agent, Cole can sign with another team as early as July 1 with no compensation to Carolina.  The Hurricanes will have the right of first refusal until then.

"I would expect that this is where I'll be (next season)," he said.  "This was the organization that I first came in with, and there's a lot of loyalty there."

Even before he answered the direct question of whether or not he thought he would be coming back, Cole spoke of next season as though it was already a foregone conclusion that he would be a part of it.

"There are some positive things to build on," he said.  "The team will have to make some decisions on what we need to do to be better.  Whatever happens, I hope that I'm a part of it."

Cole made it clear that his family would play a role in his decision.  Even before the team re-acquired him from Edmonton at the trade deadline, his family was already planning to return to their home in Raleigh on a permanent basis.

"This is an area that we see ourselves living in for the long-term after hockey," he said.

Even though Cole has publicly stated his desire to return, there is still work to be done to make that a reality.  The team's management will have to agree on an appropriate valuation of the player, who performed very well at the end of the regular season but went without a goal in 18 playoff games.

"Erik Cole's playoff performance would not eliminate him as being part of our team next year," said Rutherford at a Thursday press conference.  "We still need that type of player and he's still a good player."

Besides the obvious knee injury he sustained in Game 1 of the Pittsburgh series, Cole was coy about whether or not he had been playing with any additional ailments.

"I had a couple of different minor injuries is all I'll say."

Now, it's time for the business side of the equation to go to work.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 41 15 13 -8 28
J. Faulk 46 8 18 -14 26
J. Skinner 41 10 9 -7 19
E. Lindholm 46 9 10 -10 19
R. Nash 46 7 12 -4 19
J. Tlusty 39 11 7 -12 18
N. Gerbe 42 4 13 -2 17
V. Rask 46 6 9 -9 15
A. Sekera 44 1 14 -8 15
C. Terry 33 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 5 8 2 .916 2.32
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45