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Ian Cole re-signs with Pens, 3 years, $2.1 million per season

The Pittsburgh Penguins take care of restricted free agent Ian Cole, signing him for 3 years

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed one of their free agents, defenseman Ian Cole. From the team:

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.

Cole was a force for the Penguins and played solid in a larger than expected role after injuries to the defense struck Kris Letang, Christian Ehrhoff and Derrick Pouliot.

This contract buys out 2 years of Cole's unrestricted free agency, which is why the price might be a little higher than anticipated. It's a good bet for the Penguins to take though, if Cole plays as well as he did in a Penguins jersey for the next 3 seasons, the team will have a versatile LH defenseman who can play the right side, with decent size, skating ability to be a solid piece of their 2nd pair.