Notes at Noon: What is Market Value For Erik Cole?

Carolina Hurricanes power forward Erik Cole in 2009 playoffs. (photo by LTD)

Carolina Hurricanes winger Erik Cole finds himself in a great position this offseason.  Not only is he coming off an excellent season in which he played in all 82 games while scoring 26 goals and 52 points, but if he waits until July 1, he could be one of the most sought after free agents on the open market. 

The teams who are looking in the market to beef up this summer won't necessarily find a plethora of superstars to choose from.  After Brad Richards and a few others, the talent pool gets a bit shallow.

Following the jump is a listing of the top 36 unrestricted free agent forwards, who at this time, have yet to re-sign with their current teams.  You'll see that Cole has scored more goals than all but two of them and his point total is in the top five.

 

2011 UFA Listing as of 5/3/11, (from CapGeek.com)
Name Age    Previous 2011 2011
    Cap Hit Goals Points
1 Brad Richards 31  $       7,800,000 28 77
2 Simon Gagne 31  $       5,250,000 17 40
3 Alex Kovalev 38  $       5,000,000 16 34
4 Michael Nylander 38  $       4,875,000 0 0
5 Teemu Selanne 40  $       4,500,000 31 80
6 Jason Arnott 36  $       4,500,000 17 41
7 Tim Connolly 29  $       4,500,000 13 42
8 Michael Ryder 31  $       4,000,000 18 41
9 Michal Handzus 34  $       4,000,000 12 30
10 Steve Sullivan 36  $       3,750,000 10 22
11 Cory Stillman 37  $       3,533,000 12 39
12 Marco Sturm 33  $       3,500,000 5 16
13 Alex Ponikarovski 31  $       3,200,000 5 15
14 Alex Frolov 28  $       3,000,000 7 16
15 Radim Vrbata 29  $       3,000,000 19 48
16 Milan Hejduk 35  $       3,000,000 22 56
17 Erik Cole 32  $       2,900,000 26 52
18 Jamie Langenbrunner 35  $       2,800,000 9 32
19 Chris Clark 35  $       2,633,333 5 15
20 Tomas Fleischmann 26  $       2,600,000 12 31
21 Sergei Samsonov 32  $       2,533,333 13 40
22 Vaclav Prospal 36  $       2,480,000 9 23
23 Todd White 35  $       2,375,000 1 2
24 Antti Miettinen 30  $       2,333,333 16 35
25 Andrew Brunette 37  $       2,333,333 18 46
26 Chuck Kobasew 29  $       2,333,333 9 16
27 Scottie Upshall 27  $       2,250,000 22 34
28 Brooks Laich 27  $       2,066,667 16 48
29 Nikolai Zherdev 26  $       2,000,000 16 22
30 Ethan Moreau 35  $       2,000,000 1 6
31 Mark Recchi 43  $       1,950,000 14 48
32 Mike Modano 40  $       1,750,000 4 15
33 Radek Dvorak 34  $       1,700,000 7 22
34 Chad LaRose 29  $       1,700,000 16 31
35 Alex Tanguay 31  $       1,700,000 22 69
36 Jussi Jokinen 28  $       1,700,000 19 52

 

One player who scored more goals, Teemu Selanne, might retire.  But if he does return, he would most likely go to Anaheim.  So if a team is looking for goal scoring, as well as the physical type of game that Cole can bring, they will be targeting the Oswego, New York native. 

Several general managers have promised their respective fanbases that they will be dipping into the free agent pool this summer.  Buffalo, Ottawa, and Toronto could all be potential suitors.

So what kind of money might Cole get?  Certainly more than the $3,000,000 he made last season. At age 32, Cole will also most likely be looking for a long term deal, (three years or more). 

What should the Hurricanes offer?  Jim Rutherford has already gone on record saying that he wanted to re-sign the hometown favorite, but how far should he go?

Let's take a look at some of the signings from last summer which might be used as comps:

  • Matt Cullen, Wild - 3 years, $10.5 million - (16 goals and 48 points in 2009-2010)
  • Matthew Lombardi, Preds - 3 years $10.5 million - (19 goals and 53 points in 2009-10)
  • Alex Ponikarovski, Kings - 1 year $3.2 million - (21 goals and 50 points in 2009-10)
  • Alex Frolov, Rangers - 1 year $3 million - (19 goals and 51 points in 2009-10) 
  • Colby Armstrong, Leafs - 3 years $9 million (15 goals and 29 points in 2009-10)

Cole's agent could look at any of those signings and make an argument that his client deserves more. 

The good news for Rutherford is that Cole likes it here, he has family in the area, and has close friends on the team.  But this is business and it would be surprising if the power forward did not test the market, just to see what kind of numbers are out there. 

If you were Jim Rutherford, what kind of deal would you offer him?  Interesting days are ahead.

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