Erik Cole’s Season in Detroit is Over Due to Injury


Mar 4, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings right wing Erik Cole (72) and New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) battle for the puck in the third period at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit won 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Of course.

After losing big-bodied power forward Johan Franzen who, from the looks of things, is missing the rest of the season due to concussion issues, The Detroit Red Wings are losing their Mule replacement, Erik Cole. Picked up at the deadline by Detroit, Cole had 3 goals and 6 points in 11 games before suffering an apparent injury against  the Arizona Coyotes on March 24th. The injury was labeled as “upper-body” and the details were not revealed until today.

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Losing Cole pokes a big hole in Detroit’s offense, as you never want to lose a big body in the NHL, especially going into the playoffs. With no Cole, Detroit’s only remaining big bodies are Jonathan Ericsson (6’5″, 220 lbs), Riley Sheahan (6’2″, 209 lbs), and Danny DeKeyser (6’3″, 190 lbs). Having forwards with dominant physical presences is vital, as they’re able to get deeper into the forecheck and have an upper hand in board-side puck battles. This opens up space for your smaller and/or more skilled forwards as you are drawing attention to yourself, not to mention having a large net-front presence is always a plus. Obviously, having Justin Abdelkader back to fulfill that forechecking role, along with the call-up of Landon Ferraro, will have to suffice, but Cole will still be missed dearly in this lineup.

Detroit Red Wings
Detroit Red Wings /

Detroit Red Wings

Cole played alongside Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist during their respective scoring “slumps”, but his presence still drove puck possession fairly well. His CorsiFor (shots taken for/total shots taken while he’s on the ice, determining how often his line controls the puck) was 56.7%, with a relative CF (a measure of how much more/less the puck is possessed when he is on the ice vs. on the bench) of 5.3%. All in all, we can conclude that Cole drove possession very well for the team.

There is a silver lining in Cole’s injury. Dallas traded him to Detroit along with a conditional third-round pick in this year’s draft. The Stars would have retained the pick had the Wings reached the Eastern Conference Finals AND if Cole played in 50% of Detroit’s playoff games. Those conditions will not be met, so the Wings will keep the pick, and Ken Holland is rubbing his hands together maniacally.

While they will miss him dearly, Detroit can hold their own without Cole. Still having some size in the lineup, along with having a lot of bite and drive in the smaller forwards, we can still expect the Red Wings so make a strong push in the playoffs.

As the Detroit Red Wings get closer to the NHL Playoffs don’t forget to stay connected to Detroit Jock City for all your Red Wings news.