Though the trade deadline came and went and Erik Cole and Chad LaRose seemed to be as good as gone, Cole is back for two years as of a half hour ago and LaRose could be close to a deal, the News and Observer reports.

Cole, who made $4 million last year, took a pay cut and will receive $2.8 million next season and $3 million in 2010-2011. Cole notched 15 points in 17 games with the Hurricanes during the regular season and went goalless in the playoffs.

After all the trouble Cole put the ‘Canes through last year, it seemed to me as though they wouldn’t let him go without a fight. And indeed, Cole didn’t even have time to test the free agent waters before he landed back in Carolina. This was the second two-year deal in as many days for the ‘Canes, which shows Jim Rutherford is shying away from risky 12-year deals (a la Marian Hossa in Chicago, a deal that went through today) and isn’t looking too far into the future.

No additional signings have taken place for Carolina today. Rutherford has stated that he isn’t likely to throw down the big bucks on a free agent and will instead tinker with his roster via trades.