Andrew Cogliano has done a fine job handling a series of difficult situations as an Edmonton Oiler. He posted solid rookie boxcars then began the long, heavy work of learning to play in the NHL on a team that was outmanned everywhere. That team then traded and untraded him and since then one imagines there have been times when the young man felt like going public with a few chosen words.
He never uttered a discouraging word. “It’s disappointing. I like being here. I want to be an Oiler” was the most noteworthy quote that summer.
Cogliano has played for three NHL coaches in his four NHL seasons, and the third coach appears to be the charm. Although it had been approached previously, Renney is the man that devoted a major portion of the season in an effort to make Cogs a two-way center.
Cogliano’s SH time on ice per game from season 1-4 progressed from 0:48 (MacT); 0:35 (MacT); 0:44 (Quinn); 2:43 (Renney). Tom Renney may not be able to help the FO percentage but he’s devoted a tremendous number of sorties to Cogliano in an effort to use that speed on the PK.
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.33 (9th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 4.12 (2nd among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 5th toughest among regular forwards
- Qual Team: 7th best teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: 2.3 (8th best among regular forwards)
- Zone Start: 48% (11th easiest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 49.8% (10th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 129/8.5% (7th among F’s>100 shots)
- Boxcars: 82gp, 11-24-35
- Plus Minus: -12 on a team that was -52.
- What do these numbers tell us? Coach Renney played Cogliano in a tougher role this season. Tougher minutes, lots of PK time and oh yes poor zone start. Cogliano didn’t deliver much offensively at evens, his FO percentage was poor again, but based on his situational stats this season should be considered a step forward for Cogliano. He survived.
- Did Cogliano’s life improve? Renney did give him better linemates than he’s had in the past: Cogs played with Hall and Eberle (15.77%), Penner and Brule (12.74%) and Jones and Reddox (10.25%) most of the time at even strength. Those linemates are well shy of Gagner and Horcoff’s, but the rotation gave Cogliano a better group than in previous seasons.
- How can these numbers be better? He needs to deliver more offense, but that’s been a problem since his rookie season (he had solid rookie numbers). Cogliano is hitting above the Mendoza line but those “Marchant with hands” predictions are giggle-worthy at this point in time.
- He’s kicking Gagner’s ass on the PP! Logic tells us he won’t be part of the solution on the powerplay. Also, I don’t think comparisons to Gagner really fit anymore, it’s like comparing Pouliot to Schremp after about 2008. They are not applying for the same jobs.
- Is he making progress? I think Renney might be on to something with this PK idea (lord knows he’s fast enough) and his Corsi Rel is pretty consistent. So I think we’re arriving at his player type.
- What pray tell is his player type? Two-way center who can chip in 15-20 goals while penalty killing and playing tougher competition to a standstill. That’s what Renney sees in him, or at least I think so.
- What do those player types do? Win faceoffs, penalty kill, possibly play a physical style. Cogliano isn’t an ideal candidate but credit Renney with trying to find him a role. And more importantly, credit Cogliano with making a real effort to fill the role. The faceoff problems are still there with Cogliano, but Horcoff, Gagner and Fraser also had all kinds of problems and part of it must have to do with the inexperience of the wingers.
- Can he make it in this role? Cogliano has some advantages. He’s not expensive, has been a part of this team for four years and has shown himself to be a loyal employee. There’s probably enough goodwill there for the team to spend another winter working with him. The coach appears to like him.
- How important is Cogliano to this team? He’s not a perfect solution to the 3C job. He’s not Todd Marchant without hands either and it’s certainly true that the role he wanted (skill C) is now a distant bell. However, he’s not much more expensive than Colin Fraser and is a better player. I can see him returning in a C role with Horcoff, Gagner and a checker with FO skills.
- If the Oilers trade him, will they regret it? I don’t think the Oilers need to deal him. Remember when the club put Marty Reasoner on waivers and it shook him up, caused him to take a long look at things? Remember that Reasoner was a much better player, even a mentor, after that? I’m not suggesting that Cogliano will instantly be Reasoner to the younger hires, but if he has indeed bought into being a quality role player then the Oilers have no need to deal him. He was never a marginal player and with the added attention to detail there’s every reason to believe he’ll grow into this role and own it until the Oilers feel a need to upgrade. Andrew Cogliano is miles from being the biggest problem on this team.
By The Numbers
•07-08 5×5 per 60m: 2.28
•08-09 5×5 per 60m: 1.69
•09-10 5×5 per 60m: 1.39
•10-11 5×5 per 60m: 1.33
By The Numbers
•07-08 5×4 per 60m: 2.52
•08-09 5×4 per 60m: 3.39
•09-10 5×4 per 60m: 2.55
•10-11 5×4 per 60m: 4.12