Rumor: Several teams linked to Cole in trade talks

Which do you think is the most likely destination for Cole?

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Ian Cole has been at the center of trade discussions involving the Pittsburgh Penguins after he was controversially scratched by Mike Sullivan. There are substantial reports that Cole and Sullivan aren't on the best of terms, and it seems inevitable that the hard-working defenseman gets traded this season.

A Q&A with Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette addresses the Cole rumors, outlining the desired return, and teams that may potentially be involved in said discussions.

One reader asks if Oscar Lindberg or Cody Eakin could be realistic returns for Cole from the Vegas Golden Knights. To this, Mackey responds:

"Yeah, I think it's realistic. Vegas was one of the initial teams to express interest," Mackey says. "They have some assets down the middle, although as I understood it, those guys aren't on the market yet. But if GMJR waits, it's entirely possible that deal would work. Cole would be a huge asset to Vegas."

Mackey also sees Cole going to a rebuilding team.

"To a team like, say, Buffalo -- just arbitrarily picking one here -- he has value because of his experience, one. But also because of his work ethic, likability and style. Those are important things on a building team."

When asked about Sam Bennett of the Calgary Flames and Sam Reinhart of the Buffalo Sabres, Mackey had some more info to share.

"Bennett or Reinhart? Have my doubts on Bennett. Have heard rumblings that Buffalo sniffed around Cole, and Reinhart would make sense."

Mackey would love to see a trade with the Florida Panthers, as they have some very skilled centermen in Vincent Trocheck and Nick Bjugstad, but that's more speculation and desire on the reporter's part, and he states that it would be tough to pry those players out of the Sunshine state.

In any case, there are many legitimate rumblings out there, and a trade may materialize before December 19th - the holiday roster freeze.