Carolina Hurricanes: Stick or twist – UFA edition

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 18: Ian Cole #28 of the Carolina Hurricanes scores at 3:12 of overtime against Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers in Game One of the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena on May 18, 2022 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Hurricanes defeated the Rangers 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 18: Ian Cole #28 of the Carolina Hurricanes scores at 3:12 of overtime against Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers in Game One of the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena on May 18, 2022 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Hurricanes defeated the Rangers 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – MAY 18: Ian Cole #28 of the Carolina Hurricanes scores at 3:12 of overtime against Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers in Game One of the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena on May 18, 2022, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Hurricanes defeated the Rangers 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – MAY 18: Ian Cole #28 of the Carolina Hurricanes scores at 3:12 of overtime against Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers in Game One of the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena on May 18, 2022, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Hurricanes defeated the Rangers 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Ian Cole

Carolina’s blueline has been one of their big strengths and one of the reasons it has been so strong is Ian Cole. Not a household name, Ian Cole has made himself some fans with what he has done off the ice in Raleigh, and he’s not done an extraordinary amount wrong on the ice. He’s done everything he’s been asked and he’s done it well. He’s an ideal third-pairing defenseman.

Physical and strong, Cole’s issue has always been his speed and his decision-making. He’s a great player for a physical game and has been a good addition for the team to finally overcome the Bruins. Making friends with children off the ice and just being an all-around good guy. He has had his struggles but at no point was he ever a liability for the team. He’s always contributed in some form.

A lot of people were not surprised when the Hurricanes added Cole because he has been someone who embodies everything the Canes wanted to be about. He’s big and physical, but he’s also so polite, kind and he’s really funny in interviews. He’s been what the organization wants to be and he’s not diverted from that all year long. Just a stand-up guy, and he brought that cup-winning experience with him to Raleigh.

For Cole to come back, he would need to be willing to take a pay cut, and not by a small amount. If you slash his paycheck in half, it is still not certain if the team could afford him. There are guys in Chicago that could come up and fill his shoes if the worst happens, but that doesn’t make it ideal. Anytime you can retain the services of a guy like Cole, you should. However, that doesn’t mean it is always a possibility.

Finally, the spare defenseman.