If healthy, I see no reason Cole can't be a 20/20 guy. The 2 questions for me are 1) Will Maurice really use him in that mode and 2) if he is used as a forechecking winger, can he stay healthy?
I am not a big Cole fan, but I wouldn't classify myself as a hater either as I'd really like to see him do well. If he'd play the "forechecking winger" style more often rather than try that same move at the blue line, if he backchecked hard, and if he skated harder to the bench during shift changes, etc... I'd have no problems with him.
All players have their warts so I don't want to sound like I am picking on him specifically, but when you get paid $3M, aren't staying healthy, and aren't producing points...those warts stand out more.
Just stating my opinion. I've been right more than wrong around here, ill put my money on Cole and eat some crow if I'm wrong.
But I don't see how his performance last night affected that opinion. Nor do I see that opinion being a point of controversy either.
Even the "haters" realize that Cole's rarely, if ever, going to play the 4th line this year, and with the exception of the tests we'll run with him playing on Staal's line, he'll be "a second or third line forechecking winger with maybe occasional second unit pp duty'.
The point of contention is how much goals/points he'll put up and how many games he'll play, the latter greatly affecting the former. If you believe Cole's going to have the injury troubles he's had in the past (and he's off to a great start so far ), the 20-30 goal predictions seem a little high.