Ian Cole: Failing To Live Up To The Hype


Ever since being acquired at the trade deadline for defender Robert Bortuzzo and a seventh round draft pick, it was assumed Ian Cole would be an upgrade. Through his first few games wearing a black and gold sweater, that looked to be the case. 

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However, his play as of late is quite concerning as he has graded out as one of the worst defensemen on the roster.

Ian Cole’s basic stat line with the Pittsburgh Penguins looks like this:

12 games played, 1 goals, 1 assist, -2 skater, 7 shots and 24 hits.

While the numbers are not awful, it is less than what was expected when the Pittsburgh Penguins dealt Bortuzzo and a draft pick.

Advanced metrics favor Ian Cole ever less so, he has faced the second easiest quality of competition and has not been producing admirable results. The one area where Ian Cole has produced that indicates his play might not be his fault is his relative Corsi is the third highest on the team.

Mar 15, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ian Cole (28) handles the puck against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Detroit won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Just about every other metric does not favor Ian Cole and the eye test has shown very little to be excited about.

Perhaps it has been the play of the entire Pittsburgh Penguins roster, but the results have not been showing with Ian Cole.

If the Pittsburgh Penguins do improve their quality of play overall, I have no doubt that Ian Cole will be a much better player and help to solidify the bottom pair.

With Christian Ehrhoff out for an indefinite amount of time, the burden falls on Rob Scuderi and Ian Cole to raise their level of play. Scuderi, realistically is on his last legs in the NHL and could easily become a healthy scratch when the playoffs begin if Ehrhoff is ready to return.

That means that the Pittsburgh Penguins defensive pairs probably would look like this for a playoff run:

Kris LetangPaul Martin

Christian Ehrhoff – Ben Lovejoy

Derrick Pouliot – Ian Cole

That blueline is a near perfect fit in Mike Johnston’s puck possession system and could provide valuable if the Penguins can gain momentum going into the playoffs.

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