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Penguins 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 MTL 21 15 5 1 59 52 31
2 PIT 18 13 3 2 68 40 28
3 TBL 21 13 6 2 75 59 28
4 NYI 19 13 6 0 64 56 26
5 BOS 21 13 8 0 57 52 26
6 DET 19 10 4 5 54 45 25
7 OTT 18 9 5 4 50 47 22
8 TOR 20 10 8 2 63 62 22
9 WSH 19 9 7 3 55 52 21
10 NYR 19 8 7 4 52 58 20
11 FLA 17 7 5 5 38 44 19
12 NJD 19 8 9 2 47 56 18
13 PHI 18 7 9 2 53 58 16
14 CAR 19 6 10 3 45 58 15
15 CBJ 19 6 11 2 47 68 14
16 BUF 20 5 13 2 34 69 12

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Nash 19 4 9 1 13
E. Staal 14 6 6 -7 12
J. Faulk 19 2 10 -5 12
J. Tlusty 19 8 2 -9 10
E. Lindholm 19 6 4 -3 10
J. Skinner 15 5 4 -5 9
A. Sekera 18 0 8 -2 8
C. Terry 17 4 3 1 7
N. Gerbe 15 1 6 2 7
V. Rask 19 3 2 -6 5
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 6 6 1 .905 2.61
A. Khudobin 0 4 2 .898 2.97