Sep 1, 2014, 1:30 PM EST
Ian Cole was taken in the first round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, but his climb up the ranks has been gradual.
He spent three years in college and then another three seasons bouncing between the AHL and NHL before he stuck with the Blues in 2013-14. However, he still only ended up playing in 46 games and averaged just 15:05 minutes per contest when he did dress. That could change next season though.
“This is a real opportunity for Ian,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s paid his dues. He spent time in the minors. He’s spent time as the seventh defenseman. He’s matured as a person and as a player. It’s his time.
“There’s an open spot, a regular shift. There’s everything there waiting for him, just step up and grab it.”
Hitchcock will be looking for Cole to play a physical game and join the rush. He also expects him to find a balance between playing aggressively and not making “irrational decisions” defensively. That being said, the Blues bench boss is willing to live with some defensive mistakes as a trade off for his work with the puck.
At the same time, Cole’s been focused on improving his positioning as he gets ready to compete for a top-six spot during training camp. Even if the opportunity is there, it’s not a given that Cole will stay out of the press box in 2014-15. Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Barret Jackman are all expected to play regularly when healthy, so Cole will be fighting for one of two spots with Jordan Leopold, Carl Gunnarsson, and Chris Butler.
- Video: Ovechkin with an unreal dangle, scores game-winner 8
- Video: Avs’ Tanguay takes Ovechkin shot to the face (Updated) 3
- Video: Lindros and LeClair inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame 8
- BREAKING: Voynov charged with felony for domestic violence 30
- NHL responds to concussion lawsuit, says players should have ‘put two and two together’ 37
- (Video) PHT Extra: Carlyle’s on the hot seat, Hartley’s riding high 0
- Hextall launched profanity-laced tirade against Flyers last night 34
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him 56
- NHL watching 3-on-3 OT in the AHL closely 12
- Sens’ Murray hopes to bring cancer awareness 5
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him (56)
- Wild put Harding on waivers (Updated) (52)
- After Voynov suspension, Lombardi wonders if teams need a ‘cushion’ in case a player is a ‘bank robber, kleptomaniac’ (51)
- Video: Malkin runs over Girardi (Updated) (41)
- NHL responds to concussion lawsuit, says players should have ‘put two and two together’ (37)