According to Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier, Erik Cole came to the Canadiens reluctantly. Nothing to do with the Canadiens or the city of Montreal, it was all about family and a desire to avoid uprooting them from a stable life they had established in North Carolina. Gauthier tells me, the more he talked to Cole the more he was convinced that he was negotiating with someone who brought more than just hockey to the table. It took a while but Gauthier was able to convince Cole that Montreal would be a good fit.
Some said, at the time of the signing, that Gauthier overpaid for Cole. Obviously, that criticism has been long since silenced. At an annual cap hit of 4.5 million dollars over four years, Cole ranks as one of the top two or three high impact off-season NHL free agent signings.
Cole leads the Canadiens in goal scoring and points but it’s his intangibles, character, leadership ability and thoughtfulness that make him stand out from the pack. All of that can be seen in his interview with Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports after the 7-2 win over Detroit.