It's no secret at this point that Ian Cole may very well be on the verge of being traded. With this being his last year on his contract paying him $2.1 million annually, he is set for a big pay day when he hits unrestricted free agency.
As one of the more valuable defensemen on a thin D-core, there are a lot of questions swirling around about his current treatment by head coach Mike Sullivan.
Multiple media outlets have reported that Sullivan has an issue with Cole's personality and the way he deals with the media. Furthermore, the common theory for Cole being a healthy scratch was that Jim Rutherford wants to keep him healthy for an imminent trade.
Sullivan and Rutherford spoke to the media recently in a weak attempt to dispel such rumors.
“I think sometimes you guys make it up as you go,” Sullivan told reporters, according to TribLIVE's Tim Benz. “I don't know where this stuff comes from.”
“We've had a couple of games where the coach made a change on defense,” Rutherford added in response to a question about Cole's status as a healthy scratch as of late. “We'll have to see where that goes as we go forward.”
While Sullivan outright refuted the rumors going around, Rutherford took a bit more passive and vague approach, not doing much to simmer the media storm surrounding Cole.
Cole will return to the lineup tonight, barring any last minute changes. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out as the holiday trade freeze and trade deadline approach.