Best Later Round Picks of the Carolina Hurricanes

RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 18: Niclas Wallin #7 of the Carolina Hurricanes prepares for a faceoff during a NHL game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on January 18, 2010 at RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 18: Niclas Wallin #7 of the Carolina Hurricanes prepares for a faceoff during a NHL game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on January 18, 2010 at RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA , PA – FEBRUARY 10: Erik Cole #26 of the Carolina Hurricanes looks on during warmups prior to his game against the Philadelphia Flyers on February 10, 2011 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA , PA – FEBRUARY 10: Erik Cole #26 of the Carolina Hurricanes looks on during warmups prior to his game against the Philadelphia Flyers on February 10, 2011 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Erik Cole

  • 3rd Round (71st overall) in 1998
  • Games Played: 557
  • Goals-Assists-Points: 168-195-363

After a 31 point freshman season at Clarkson, Erik Cole entered the 1998 NHL Draft as the 40th ranked North American skater.  While several forwards who ranked higher never panned out, Cole carved out a very respectable 13 year NHL career.

Breaking in with a 40 point rookie season in 2001-02, Cole added 9 points as the Hurricanes marched to the Stanley Cup Finals, including the tying goal in the Molson Miracle with under a minute left in the third.  A broken leg limited Cole to 53 games in the 2002-03 campaign, though his point-per-game ratio trended up slightly from his rookie year.

The 2005-06 season served as the defining moment in Cole’s career.  Through the first five months, Cole had racked up 30 goals and 29 assists through 60 games.  His physical style and unyielding willingness to get to the dirty areas benefitted the Hurricanes by creating offensive chances and drawing penalties.  Cole also drew five penalty shots, scoring on two, including the game-winning goal in a November matchup against the Buffalo Sabres.

Having already set career-highs in goals, assists, and points, Cole was in the middle of a breakout year.  The Hurricanes carried a 41-14-4 record into a March 4th matchup with the Penguins in Pittsburgh.  Carolina jumped out to a 5-0 lead after one period of play and entered the third period leading 6-3, thanks in part to two goals from Cole.  Those would be his last points of the season.

The early part of the third period saw Pittsburgh up the pressure, cutting into the Hurricanes’ lead thanks to a goal from Mark Recchi (who would become a Hurricane five days later).  A little over two minutes later, Cole was playing the puck along the sidewall when Pittsburgh defender Brooks Orpik took him hard into the boards with a hit from behind.  The Hurricanes won the game 7-5 but lost Cole, who suffered a fractured vertebra, until Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Cole bounced back with 61 points in 71 games the following season and 51 points in 2007-08.  During the summer of 2008, Cole was traded to the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Joni Pitkanen, though his stint with the Oilers would last less than one season.  On March 4th, 2009, Cole was traded back to the Hurricanes, where he would stay until the summer of 2011.

He went on to spend the next four season with Montreal, Dallas, and Detroit before signing an honorary contract to retire as a Hurricane on September 20th, 2017.