The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed defenseman Ian Cole to a three-year contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The deal runs through the 2017-18 season and carries an average annual value of $2.1 million.
Cole, 26, played in 20 regular-season games and five playoff contests for Pittsburgh in 2014-15 after being acquired from St. Louis in exchange for Robert Bortuzzo and a 2016 seventh-round pick on March 2. He posted career-high totals in points (17), goals (5), assists (12) and penalty minutes (51) while appearing in 74 regular-season games.
In the 20 games following his arrival, the 6-foot-1, 219-pound Cole paced all Penguins defensemen with seven assists and eight points. Only Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist and Brandon Sutter had more points overall during that span. The blueliner registered six helpers en route to establishing a career-high five-game point streak from March 29-April 7.
Cole registered his first career playoff point, an assist, in Pittsburgh’s Game 2 win at Madison Square Garden April 18. Cole was second among Penguins defensemen in time on ice in the postseason, averaging 23 minutes while skating a team-high 30.4 shifts per game. The left-handed shot has two career assists in seven postseason games.
A former First-Team All-American at Notre Dame, Cole was selected 18th overall by St. Louis in the first round of the 2007 NHL Draft, and is one of three current Penguins to be selected in the first round in 2007, joining Brandon Sutter (11th, Carolina) and David Perron (26th, St. Louis). Cole has registered 39 points (10G-29A) in 187 regular-season games since entering the league in the 2010-11 season.
A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Cole represented the United States at the 2008 and ’09 World Junior Championships and was named one of Team USA’s ‘Top-Three’ players at the 2007 World Under-18 Championship. Cole spent two seasons with the United States National Development Team Program (USNTDP) in his hometown of Ann Arbor from 2005-07.