It must be nice for Ian Cole to go from the seventh guy to top pairing defenseman, but that's what is in the cards for him tonight. According to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch, Ken Hitchcock is planning on starting him with Alex Pietrangelo to encourage even distribution of defensive strengths.
"I don’t think that we want to restrict him," he said. "We just want to him to be smart and we need him to be right on the page when we don’t have the puck because he’s going to play against good players. If he makes a mistake, like anybody does against good players, you know where it ends up, it’s in your net. So we need him to really be on the right page when we don’t have the puck and then let him play when we do have the puck. He can make plays ... we’ve seen it in college, we’ve seen it in the American Hockey League and we’re hopefully going to see some of it now."
This will leave Kevin Shattenkirk to play with Jay Bouwmeester and Barret Jackman to pair with Jordan Leopold at the start of the game.