RALEIGH, N.C., July 5 (UPI) -- The Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday re-signed left wing Erik Cole to a three-year contract worth $12 million.
Cole, 27, is the 20th member of the National Hockey League champs signed up for the 2006-07 season. The Canes' will still need a defenseman if Glen Wesley retires and a third-line right wing, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer reported. The team's total payroll currently tops $36.3 million.
Cole has played four seasons for the Canes. He missed the last 22 regular season games with a fractured vertebra in his neck suffered against Pittsburgh on March 4, but returned for Games 6 and 7 in the Stanley Cup final.
"Erik has developed into a dominant power forward," said Hurricanes president and general manager Jim Rutherford. "His size, speed and skill make him the ideal player for today's NHL and he is one of the cornerstones of our team going forward."