Penguins defenseman Ian Cole, a pending restricted free agent, has “officially” started contract extension talks with the club, according DK on Pittsburgh Sports sources.
Cole, 26, is a former first-round pick (18th overall, 2007) that came to Pittsburgh in the Roberto Bortuzzo-to-St. Louis trade at the deadline. The former Notre Dame product played well upon joining the Pens, scoring eight points in 20 regular season games while averaging just under 19 minutes a night.
In the playoffs, with Pittsburgh’s blueline decimated by injury, Cole scored two points in five games while averaging 23 minutes per night.
Getting Cole back in the mix is fairly important for the Pens. While they do have some good young d-men on the horizon — Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta most notably — veterans Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff will be UFAs on July 1, and could be playing elsewhere next season.
Benn Ferriero, who spent last season with the St. Louis organization, has agreed to terms with EC Red Bull Salzburg of the Austrian League, the club announced on Tuesday.
Ferriero, 28, has appeared in 98 career NHL games with the Sharks, Rangers and Canucks. He enjoyed his greatest big-league success while in San Jose, scoring a playoff OT winner against Detroit in 2011, but has struggled to remain in the league since then, and spent all of lat season with the Blues’ AHL affiliat ein Chicago.
A Massachusetts native, Ferriero was drafted by the Coyotes in 2006 (196th overall) following his freshman year at Boston College.
Just weeks after Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo openly questioned the NHLPA’s exit program, TSN reports the union is currently working on a “back to school” program, aimed at helping current players adjust to their post-hockey careers.
TSN has learned that for the past two years, [NHLPA executive Mathieu] Schneider and his colleagues have been quietly researching professional sports leagues around the world, consulting with sports industry executives as far away as in New Zealand about programs that help active professional athletes improve levels of education and prepare for post-playing careers.
The personal development program will see players receive counseling about personal relationships and parenting, and be given the opportunity to shadow executives in industries such as finance.
The NHL and NHLPA have each pledged close to $1.5 million over the next three years to the pilot project, though it’s unclear how much of the collective $3 million will go to pay for tuition and other fees at colleges, universities and trade schools.
Per TSN, Schneider said he was aware of Carcillo’s exit program critiques and acknowledged they had merit. Carcillo’s remarks came shortly after the passing of friend and ex-Blackhawks teammate Steve Montador, who died in February at 35.
“So after Monty died, I really did some research, kind of asking guys that had already moved on and that I had played with if they knew what our exit program was for the NHLPA and I was kind of astonished to find out that not one guy can tell me what it was,” Carcillo said.
“Right now, as far as the PA goes, we would receive a phone call to see how we’re doing and that’s pretty much our exit program.”
Per TSN, the union hopes to launch its “back to school” program this fall, which aims to eventually include retired players as well.