LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 05: Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings cuts around Ian Cole #28 of the St. Louis Blues during the second period at Staples Center on March 5, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) By Harry How
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 05: Ian Cole #28 of the St. Louis Blues forechecks against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on March 5, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) By Harry How
(KMOV) -- With the off-season just beginning for the Blues, they have already agreed to terms with one of their four restricted free agent defensemen. The club announced on Tuesday that they have agreed to terms with Ian Cole on a new two-year, one-way contract.
Cole, who turned 24 this past February, became a bit of a forgotten defenseman when the Blues made two trade deadline moves to acquire Jordan Leopold and Jay Bouwmeester. The moves bolstered the team’s blue line, but left Cole out of the mix.
Cole’s last game of the season came on March 16 against Anaheim. He was a healthy scratch in the final 20 games of the regular season, and all six playoff games.
Cole played in just 15 of the Blues’ 48 regular season games this year. His only point of the season was an assist in the Blues’ first game against Detroit. Cole was a minus-4 this year.
Cole was playing in the American Hockey League, with the Peoria Rivermen during the National Hockey League lockout that consumed three months of the regular season. With Peoria, Cole had 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 34 games. He had a minus-9 rating.
Cole’s new contract is worth $1.65 million. He will make $750,000 in the 2013-14 season and $900,000 in 2014-15, making the average annual value of the contract $825,000 according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
This will be the second contract Cole has signed with the Blues. It will be his first extension. His previous contract was an entry level deal that paid him $875,000 per year.
The Blues drafted Cole in the first round (18th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Since that time, the Ann Arbor, Michigan native has played in 67 NHL regular season games and has 11 points (two goals, nine assists).
The Blues re-signing Cole should come as no surprise. During his end of the year media interviews, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said that the Blues would be qualifying every restricted free agent, and attempting to re-sign all.
The Blues currently have three remaining restricted free agent defensemen in Kris Russell, Alex Pietrangelo, and Kevin Shattenkirk. All three are expected to be re-signed.
Armstrong also sounded interested in negotiating a new contract with unrestricted free agent defenseman Jordan Leopold. If the Blues can re-sign all of the aforementioned, which seems to be the plan, a trade would certainly be possible.
Both Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk are going to be looking for a substantial amount of money in their next contracts. Armstrong guaranteed the re-signing of both earlier in the season.
Cole’s contract extension follows on the heels of forward Adam Cracknell’s one-year extension, which was announced on Friday.