The Minnesota Wild added Ian Cole on Tuesday in a trade with Colorado in a swap of defensemen, with Greg Pateryn headed to the Avalanche.
So just who is the new addition to the Wild blueliners? Let’s take a look.
A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., Cole played collegiately at Notre Dame and also was on two U.S. Junior National teams.
With the Fighting Irish, Cole appeared in 111 games over three years, tallying 17 goals and 48 assists. He was named a first-team All-American in 2008-09, the first Notre Dame defenseman to be tabbed with that honor in a decade.
In 2007, St. Louis selected him in the first round with the No. 18 overall pick — making Cole the highest-drafted player in school history.
Cole signed with the Blues after his junior year and after a brief stint in the minors made his NHL debut Nov. 6, 2010.
Cole shuttled back-and-forth between St. Louis and Peoria of the AHL before gaining a foothold in the lineup in 2014-15. But on March 2, 2015, he was traded to Pittsburgh.
Here’s where things really started to take off for Cole.
On June 28, 2015, Cole married Jordan Rockwell, who also went to Notre Dame, where the pair met. The next day, he signed a three-year, $6.3 million contract with the Penguins.
It was a good time to be in Pittsburgh as the Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cups. In the 2016 Final against San Jose, he scored a goal in Game 4.
In 2016-17, Cole had perhaps his best season, recording five goals and 21 assists with a career-high plus-26. And, of course, the Pens won another Cup.
There was loss that year for Cole, too, however. Namely some of his front teeth.
On Oct. 7, 2017, he went down to block a shot by Nashville’s Roman Josi and caught the puck square in the mouth. Cole would post a picture of his dental appointment sans teeth. (We’ll spare you the picture here, but feel free to click the link if you’re curious.)
Cole, as many Cup champions do, took the trophy to his hometown after his first championship. He brought it to the arena where he skated as a kid, a local restaurant, a hospital and the Ronald McDonald House.
“I think any time that you have an opportunity — this opportunity — and you’re able to bring it back to your home state, your hometown, and really share it with the people, bring it out to the people, have a public thing like this … that’s really what the trophy’s for, right?” Cole said at the time. “It’s for, in my mind, sharing it with people after you’ve won it. We’re trying to do that to the best of our ability so far today, and so far, the response has been fantastic.”
Cole’s time in Pittsburgh came to an end the following season, when on Feb. 23, 2018 he was dealt to Ottawa. Three days later, the Senators, who basically acquired Cole, who was in the final year of his contract, flipped him, trading the defenseman to Columbus.
Cole played two seasons with the Blue Jackets, making a couple of playoff runs in the process, before signing a three-year deal with Colorado. Last season, playing in 65 games, Cole tied his career high with 26 points (four goals, 22 assists) and was a plus-21.
Here’s hoping he can help the Wild to the NHL’s throne … with no more loss of teeth along the way.