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Hurricanes sign Ian Cole, Josh Leivo

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The Canes have inked another forward and defenseman in free agency

Minnesota Wild v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Seven Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images

According to two reports, the Hurricanes have signed two more players in free agency, defenseman Ian Cole to a one-year deal worth $2.9 million (reported by Pierre LeBrun) and forward Josh Leivo to a one-year deal worth $750,000 (reported by Bruce Garrioch).

Cole is now the Hurricanes’ sixth defenseman under contract for next season after the team traded for Ethan Bear earlier today. He’s played parts of 11 seasons with the Blues, Penguins, Blue Jackets, Avalanche and Wild, posting one goal and eight points in 52 games with Minnesota last year.

He should add a steady defensive presence to the Hurricanes’ blue line.

The signing of Cole, however, likely ends any remaining dream of bringing back Dougie Hamilton, who still remains unsigned but is expected to head to New Jersey.

Leivo is a veteran of parts of eight seasons with the Maple Leafs, Canucks and Flames. He put up six goals and nine points in 38 games with Calgary last season, and could compete for a spot in the team’s bottom six following the reported departure of Brock McGinn, or could serve as the team’s 13th forward.

These moves leave the Canes with about $15 million in cap space, still needing one or two more forwards and possibly a seventh defenseman, though likely $6-7 million of that will need to go to RFA forward Andrei Svechnikov.

Update: The Hurricanes have made the Leivo signing official, here’s their release:

‘CANES AGREE TO TERMS WITH LEIVO

Veteran forward has 74 points in 207 career NHL games

RALEIGH, N.C. – Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with forward Josh Leivo on a one-year contract. The deal will pay Leivo $750,000 for the 2021-22 season.

“Josh is an experienced two-way forward,” said Waddell. “We expect him to fit our playing system well.”

Leivo, 28, completed his eighth NHL season in 2020-21, posting nine points (6g, 3a) in 38 games with the Calgary Flames. In 2019-20, the 6’2”, 192-pound forward tallied a career-high 19 points (7g, 12a) in 36 games with the Vancouver Canucks. Originally selected in the third round, 86th overall, of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Innisfil, Ont., native has recorded 74 points (37g, 37a) in 207 career NHL games with Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

Update: The Hurricanes have confirmed the Cole signing. Here’s their release:

‘CANES AGREE TO TERMS WITH COLE

Two-time Stanley Cup Champion has played 595 career NHL games

RALEIGH, NC – Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Ian Cole on a one-year, $2.9 million contract.

“Ian is a big, physical defenseman,” said Waddell. “We’re thrilled to add a veteran with his experience to our team.”

Cole, 32, skated in two games with Colorado last season before being traded to Minnesota. He then recorded eight points (1g, 7a) in 52 games during the regular season and played seven playoff games with the Wild. The 6’1”, 225-pound defenseman has registered 146 points (27g, 119a) in 595 career NHL games with St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Colorado and Minnesota since making his NHL debut with the Blues on Nov. 6, 2010.

Cole has tallied 24 points (1g, 23a) in 96 career NHL playoff games, including 12 points (1g, 11a) in 49 games to help the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. Prior to turning professional, Cole tallied 65 points (17g, 48a) in 111 NCAA games with Notre Dame. The Ann Arbor, Mich., native was selected by St. Louis in the first round, 18th overall, of the 2007 NHL Draft.