The Habs made a big splash in free agency, signing W Erik Cole to a 4 year,
$18 million contract. The 6’2, 205 lb veteran has spent the last 9 seasons
in Carolina, with a brief stint in Edmonton sandwiched in between. Last
season with the Hurricanes, the 32 year old had 26 goals and 26 assists while
playing all 82 games.
His 2010-11 campaign came on the heels of an injury plagued 09-10 campaign
where he had career lows across the board, 40 games with 11 goals and only 5
assists. Beyond that, he has been the model of consistency, scoring at
least 14 goals in every other season. Since the lockout, he has averaged
47 points per season in 6 seasons.
Internationally, Cole has represented the United States in a pair of World
Championships, scoring 11 points in 14 games. He also played in the 2006
Olympics. During the lockout, he played in Eisbären
Berlin where he won the DEL championship. The following season, he won the
Stanley Cup with Carolina.
Cole has been a Hab killer over his career. Aside from the other
Southeast Division teams (where Cole has spent most of his career), he has the
most points against Montreal than any other team in the league. Overall,
he has 14 goals and 11 assists in just 28 games vs the Canadiens with a +8
rating. His physical presence will be huge for the team; Cole’s 225 hits
last season was good for 13th overall in the NHL.
His $4.5 million salary represents a hefty increase from the $2.8 million he
made last season. That, however, came after his injury season where he
earned $4 million. Cap wise, the team now has roughly $56 million
committed for next season, to 11 forwards, 6 defencemen, and 2 goalies.