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Report: Likely timeframe for Ian Cole trade

It appears certain now.

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An Ian Cole trade has been the center of discussions in Pittsburgh for several weeks now. While fans patiently await some concrete action on that front, Jim Rutherford provided two trades that are likely the precursors to the big trade involving the rugged defenseman.

According to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the trade should transpire shortly after the holiday roster freeze lifts on December 27th.

"I think they will trade Ian Cole soon after the holiday roster freeze expires," Mackey declared in a recent Q&A. "I think that will likely involve a third-line center. And yes, I do think this team is capable of turning it around. I don't think the Penguins are anywhere near as bad as what they've shown the past 5-7 games."

He adds that the Jamie Oleksiak acquisition was a clear sign that they are phasing Cole out of the team, with the 6'7" defenseman to be Cole's replacement.

As much as Cole is a valuable and appreciated part of the Penguins' team, fans and players alike will probably be happy to see this story end, and soon.