Tampa Bay Lightning Sign Ian Cole

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed a veteran defenseman Ian Cole, according to Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, who reports that the deal is worth $3MM. Cole, 33, signs in Tampa Bay as the likely replacement for Jan Ruttawho is reportedly moving on after winning two Stanley Cups as Victor Hedman‘s main partner. Cole’s $3MM deal is a $100k raise from the $2.9MM he made last season on the Carolina Hurricanes.

In Cole, the Lightning are acquiring a defender with significant playoff experience and an accomplished overall resume. A veteran of 670 NHL games, Cole won two Stanley Cups on the Pittsburgh Penguins. For years, Cole has been a reliable, defense-first fourth or fifth defenseman. Last season he ranked fifth on the Hurricanes in ice time and third on the team in short-handed ice time. He handled those minutes with some success, helping the Hurricanes have one of the top penalty kills in the NHL and one of the better overall defensive games.

With Rutta on the way out, Cole is the Lightning’s way of making sure his departure doesn’t impact their team too strongly. On a one-year term, Cole is a low-risk investment. Although he’s 33 years old, the odds are that Cole will be able to handle a similar role in Tampa Bay and a $3MM price tag is the market rate for players who can do that. He won’t wow fans or be the sort of flashy signing many want to see, but it’s a tidy bit of business by Julien Brisebois.

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