This deal just doesn't make any sense to me, I've been racking my brains since I found out.
It doesn't make sense for several reasons:
1. Cole has found from going to Edmonton (which wasn't his choice) that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
2. Cole has always had good chemistry with Staal and has a lot of friends on the team and probably in the area.
3. A lot of people would say he left for the money, but unless his agent is oblivious he would know that 52% of player salaries in Montreal are taxed. Would the money have been that different from what JR was offering (about 3.5 million???). Its common knowledge that Montreal players have to deal with the worst taxes. I'm not sure how the numbers would end up but it really couldn't have been that much different from what we offered.
4. Montreal has a fanbase that is as critical of their franchise as any I have seen in professional sports. Also, there is nowhere the players can go without being seen by fans who swarm all over them. Might be cool at first, but probably gets old after 2 days.
5. Cole lives in Raleigh. His family lives here. He just said in an interview YESTERDAY that he will live here when he's retired. If the money is that much different then why move?
6. Cole claims to be genuinely interested in winning a cup, and said there were a "few teams" interested in him that were cup contenders. So again, I say Montreal, really? The mighty Canadiens who finished a whole FIVE points ahead of the Hurricanes, when we were the second youngest team in the league?
In my opinion, something is amiss here. It just doesn't add up. My best guess is Cole has become fed up with the management and ownership, perhaps JR and PK. He complained in his exit interview about not being elected as an alternate captain, and mentioned the "self-inflicted budget" in his interviews today with the MTL media. He also implied that he had a "lesser role" in leadership here and wants to have more of a leadership role.
I guess he got tired of not making the playoffs and tired of an owner who is a penny pincher by NHL standards.
In my opinion, he quit on a team that needs him back desperately to go to a team that really isn't that much better. Not to mention the pressure will be enormous.
Did Erik Cole really think this through clearly?
All I can say is, don't expect the standing ovation you got when you returned to the RBC as an Oiler.