Ian Cole was a late addition to the Blue Jackets this season, coming to the team on trade deadline day from the Pittsburgh Penguins via the Ottawa Senators for a third round draft pick. Upon his arrival, Cole immediately supplanted Jack Johnson in the lineup and took his spot on the second pairing next to David Savard. Cole logged heavy minutes for the Blue Jackets, playing on the penalty kill and solidifying the bottom two pairing of the Jackets for the first time all season.
Cole came in as a veteran presence to a young team and young blue line that was struggling on the edge of missing the playoffs. Cole allowed Torts to scratch Jack Johnson, play Ryan Murray on the third pair with Markus Nutivaara, and stabilize a struggling lineup and make the blue line one of the better outfits in the NHL. His value was demonstrated quietly every time he took this ice in the union blue.
Cole is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and many Blue Jackets fans want him re-signed. It remains unclear if there is room for him in the lineup, but expect the Blue Jackets to attempt to bring him back for the right price next year.
Ian Cole 2017-18 Columbus Stats
Games played: 20
Time on ice: 18:08
Penalty Minutes: 11
Corsi For: 52.2%
Ian Cole 2017-18 Total Stats
Games played: 67
Time on ice: 17:20
Penalty Minutes: 76
Corsi For: 51.2%
Cole had fallen out of favor with the Penguins and being traded allowed him to be more fully utilized by a team that needed defensive help.
In a 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, Cole scored a goal and had an assist as the Blue Jackets continued their march to the playoffs, a march that Cole was an instrumental part of.
Cole, a two time Stanley Cup winner, fell out of favor with his old team and was healthy scratched for extended periods of time, eventually leading to his unceremonious exit from Pittsburgh.