Ian Cole was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets this season after being an integral part of the Pittsburgh Penguins two Stanley Cup runs. Leading up until the deadline there were reports of a feud growing between Cole and head coach Mike Sullivan, something that has been brought up afterwards in pieces about a similar power struggle between the Penguins head coach and Phil Kessel. In Columbus, Cole found a home and performed quite well, notching 10 points in 26 games in a Blue Jackets uniform, including three playoff assists in the team’s first-round exit.
Cole is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and in Aaron Portzline’s latest piece for The Athletic (subscription required) the 29-year old defenseman admits that he’s open to signing with the Blue Jackets if they can find the right deal. After earning an average of just $2.1MM the last three seasons, Cole should be able to find a raise on the open market if he gets that far. Free agency isn’t flush with defensemen who can potentially play in a team’s top-four, and could be quite lucrative to a player in Cole’s position. That’s if Columbus doesn’t lock him up in the next three weeks.
- A former teammate of Cole in Pittsburgh will be leaving the organization this summer, as Tom Venesky of The Athletic reports that Tom Sestito will not be re-signing with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The long-time professional and part-time Penguins forward didn’t get any NHL action this season as the league moves further away from his physical, enforcing type of hockey. It’s not clear where the 30-year old winger will get his next opportunity, but he isn’t leaving with any bad blood.
- The Montreal Canadiens hold the third-overall selection at this year’s draft, and Eric Engels of Sportsnet examines just how big of a wildcard that makes them over the next three weeks. There are many who believe that Montreal needs to select a defenseman or center at the upcoming draft, something that may be hard to do when wingers like Filip Zadina and Brady Tkachuk are sitting available at the top of the draft. The team certainly has the firepower to make a move on the draft floor, as they currently hold four second-round picks and three fourth-rounders. If the third-overall pick is available for teams looking to move up, there could be any number of teams running over to the Canadiens’ table to speak with Marc Bergevin on June 22nd.