Tracking the Storm

Cole Expects to Return Next Season

Friday, 05.29.2009 / 11:44 AM ET / 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.

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72