Wheels

It looks like Andrew Cogliano is going to be a much different player than we thought he’d be. I felt Cogs would eventually become a two-way center in the tradition of Dave Keon, Ralph Backstrom and Butch Goring.

Smaller centers who used their speed on the forecheck and to penalty-kill, but also had enough skill to score 20 goals a season; maybe a little more on a really good team.

Andrew Cogliano’s progress through his three year NHL career has been an often talked about subject around these parts (this is the 23rd Cogliano post).

Throughout his college career he looked like a guy building a foundation for an NHL career. On March 16, 2007 I suggested that “Cogliano should be a fast-track based on his skills and the organization’s tendencies.” Cogliano covered that bet, making the big club in his first pro training camp.

I ranked him as the #2 Oiler prospect in the winter of 2007 and he had a fine rookie season, marked by a very impressive split:

  • First 41: 7-12-19 -6
  • Second 41: 11-15-26 +7

His 2nd season also saw 18 goals but was less impressive overall. In the summer, two things happened that impacted Cogliano: a change in coach (always a major event in the career of a young player) and he was traded to Ottawa in an ill-fated deal that never reached completion. Although Cogliano said all the right things, it is very likely there was an impact on him.

Whatever the reason, he has played much of this season in a fog. Recently, he’s been showing some signs of gaining confidence and he’s been using that blazing speed more often. He was the best player on the ice last night and scored a goal.

For those of us cheering for Andrew Cogliano and his Oiler career, it was a welcome chapter in the difficult story that is his 2009-10 NHL season.

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