Kevin Allen of USA Today
is reporting that while Erik Cole might re-sign with Carolina, he at least is going to test the free agent waters. Is he a good fit for Winnipeg?
For starters, Cole is a right winger, and with Blake Wheeler as the only RW who is a top 6 quality forward, those guys are at a premium for the organization. Cole led Carolina’s right wingers last year with 13.57 TOI/60 and 1.08 goals/60. He also played 82 games, showing that he is durable. Amongst RW league wide, Cole was 17th in goals per 60 minutes, but a lot of the players above him had the benefit of playing on better lines or with better teammates.
Cole’s Corsi wasn’t great, at -2.3, but he had the toughest QualComp on the team amongst RWs, at .035. Granted that is just a bit above average, so Cole won’t be a guy that Winnipeg could throw out there to play tough minutes. Related, his QualTeam was the best among right wingers. Still he led Hurricanes RW in Corsi RelQoC and Corsi Rel QoT so he was undoubtedly Carolina’s best winger last year.
Here are his ranks amongst all NHL RW with 70 GP last year:
Quality of teammates: 23rd
Corsi RelQoT: 20th
Corsi RelQoC: 11th
Cole started exactly half of his shifts in the offensive zone, so while he wasn’t playing the toughest minutes he also wasn’t terribly protected either. For the record, his 50% was 46th amongst right wingers with 70+ games played. For what it’s worth, he finished in the offensive zone 51.3% of the time, tied for 23rd.
Because the UFA market is terrible, and it seems like Cole liked Carolina enough to offer them a discount, he might cost a bit more than you would think to get him to move up to Winnipeg, but for a team in dire need of right wingers he would be a nice Canada Day present for Jets fans.