The Erik Cole era in Detroit will be short lived.
Cole, who arrived from Dallas at the deadline but played just 11 games before suffering a season-ending spinal cord injury, won’t be brought back next season, GM Ken Holland announced on Tuesday.
Cole, 36, had a pretty nice campaign prior to suffering his injury. The veteran scored six points in 11 games with the Wings, averaging 14:39 TOI per night. Overall, Cole averaged an impressive 0.57 points per game this year between Detroit and Dallas, his highest rate since scoring a career-best 35 goals with Montreal in 2011-12.
As such, it’ll be interesting to see where he lands in free agency. Clubs looking for a veteran presence on the wing could do worse and Cole does have plenty of playoff experience, having appeared in 46 career contests while playing in a pair of Stanley Cup Finals (winning it all with Carolina in 2006).
As for Detroit, this marks the second straight year a veteran deadline pickup failed to net significant returns — last year, the club acquired David Legwand from Nashville and, after a quick start, he struggled to make an impact in an opening-round playoff loss to Boston.
Those deals could end up hurting the Red Wings down the road. For Cole, they gave up prospects Mattias Backman, center Mattias Janmark and a second-round pick in this year’s draft; for Legwand, they gave up Calle Jarnkrok and a second-rounder in last year’s draft.