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2009-10 Canes Country Exit Analysis: Erik Cole

During the summer last year we started a new feature on the blog which gave our readers an opportunity to grade the overall performances of each of the Carolina Hurricanes. It's time to get things started again this offseason.

First up is Erik Cole.

Erik Cole

#26 / Left Wing / Carolina Hurricanes



Oswego, N.Y. Nov 06, 1978, age 31

by Carolina Hurricanes in 1998 (3rd round)

2009-10 - Erik Cole 40 11 5 16 -9 29 2 0 1 0 81 13.6
2008-09 - Erik Cole 80 18 24 42 0 73 5 0 1 0 178 9.9
2007-08 - Erik Cole 73 22 29 51 5 76 10 0 4 0 216 10.2
2006-07 - Erik Cole 71 29 32 61 2 76 9 0 4 0 166 17.5

As you can see from the stats above, Cole's production has progressively gotten worse each season. This past season was the worst of his career. Of course, much of that can be attributed to injuries.

During the second game of the year in Boston, Cole broke a bone in his leg and missed the next 10 games.

Then from mid-December to the beginning of March, the winger missed 31 consecutive games because of a mysterious "upper body injury" that many assumed might end his career. But Cole returned to the lineup during the team's final push and was a help, even if he was not necessarily instrumental to the team's end of season success.

The Good: Cole seems well-liked by teammates and is a veteran voice in the room. His 94 hits were 9th highest on the team and his "hits per game" average was number one. The sniper's 13.6% shooting percentage is very good indicating that he should shoot more. If he could stay healthy, he is still capable of being a prototypical, physical power forward, which is needed badly on this team.

The Bad: The forward's future health is in question. Can he play with the same reckless abandon of old? Can he be counted on to contribute? His point total for the year was very disappointing, especially the lowly 5 assists. Defensemen around the league seem to have figured out his power move, making him less effective than in the past. Perhaps he has lost a step or two?

The Money: Cole is on the second year of a two year contract which will pay him $3 million next season. His cap hit is $2.9 million. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2010-11.

Last season, the majority of Canes Country readers gave Cole a grade of "C". What do you say this year?