Winger Erik Cole was one of the Carolina Hurricanes most beloved players in franchise history
Erik Cole was one of the better players in the history of the Carolina Hurricanes franchise. Heck. we even included him in our top ten list of best Hurricanes players ever. A hard-nosed power forward, Erik Cole helped the Hurricanes achieve some of their best success.
Cole is one of the few players to be present on every Hurricanes deep playoff runs in the 21st century. A career of thirteen years in the NHL, Erik Cole is technically still a free agent, but in reality, is retired in all but name. So let’s take a look at the career of fan favorite Erik Cole.
Erik Cole played hockey during his amateur years at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. In Cole’s first year at Potsdam, he scored 11 goals and 31 points and was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the third round of the 1998 NHL draft.
Cole would go on to play two more seasons at Clarkson and then two more for the Cincinnati Cyclones before he cracked the Carolina Hurricanes lineup in the 2002 season. The 2002 season was the year that Ron Francis led the Hurricanes to their first Stanley Cup appearance in franchise history. Unfortunately, the Canes lost that series four games to one to the Detroit Red Wings.
In his rookie year with the Hurricanes, Cole scored 16 goals and 40 points. He would go on to score six more goals in the playoffs on the famed BBC line with other Blast from the Past Alumnus Bates Battaglia. Cole played 6 more seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes including their Stanley Cup win in 2006.
Cole’s 2006 season took a tragic turn after a hit from behind by the Pittsburgh Penguins Brooks Orpik.
The hit broke Erik Cole’s neck and he missed the rest of the season up until game 6 of the Finals. Don’t you love how his teammates stick up for him by getting in a scrum over his immobile body in that video? You know instead of checking to see if Cole was ok they just wrestle on top of him. As if fighting needs any more evidence that it doesn’t belong in the game here’s just another piece.
Traded to Edmonton Oilers
In the offseason of 2008, the Carolina Hurricanes traded Erik Cole to the Edmonton Oilers for Joni Pitkanen. Cole wouldn’t stay in Alberta long as the following season Edmonton Shipped Cole back
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to the Hurricanes before the trade deadline. This time the Hurricanes sent Patrick O’Sullivan and a second round pick for Cole and a fifth rounder.
While Erik Cole returning to the Hurricanes was a feel good story, he wasn’t exactly instrumental to the Hurricanes run to the Eastern Conference Finals. With only five points in 18 games (all of them assists) it was a disappointing postseason for someone who was a .88 point per game player for the Canes in the regular season.
Life after Canes
Cole played two more years for the Hurricanes, but after the 2011 season, Erik Cole hit free agency. Cole would end up signing a four-year $18 million deal with the Montreal Canadiens. It looked like a great signing for the Canadiens as the very next year Cole posted a career high in goals and points for Les Habitants.
The next season would be a different story as his three goals in 18 games led to the Canadiens to trade Cole to the Dallas Stars for Michael Ryder. Cole would spend two more seasons with the Stars before being traded again this time to the Detroit Red Wing. Cole only played 8 games for the Wings before a spinal contusion sidelined him for the rest of the season. They would be the last games of Erik Cole’s career.
One fun fact about Cole is he has another league championship to go with his Stanley Cup. Cole played for the Eisbären Berlin where he played during the 2005 lockout and helped them achieve their very first championship in the German Elite League.