Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On the Cogliano Trade

Andrew Cogliano was traded by the Edmonton Oilers in the summer of 2009 to the Ottawa Senators in the Dany Heatley deal that never was. Ever since the day Heatley decided not to waive his no trade clause, Cogliano's name has been a constant in the Oilers rumour mill up until today, when he was finally traded to the Anaheim Ducks for a second round pick in 2013.

Cogliano was largely an offensive forward in junior and at the University of Michigan, but his offensive numbers didn't translate well to the NHL. While he scored an impressive 36 goals in his first two years in the league, he saw his production drop off in the past two seasons, scoring only 10 and 11 goals respectively. This past year, Cogliano realized that he was never going to play an offensive role in the top 6 for the Oilers and worked hard to adapt his game into that of a penalty killing two-way forward. With his good speed it was a role that he transitioned well into and showed signs he could become an effective penalty killer this season. He worked hard with the coaching staff and his effort and commitment to  improving his defensive game was never in doubt. Unfortunately, despite his character and desire to find a niche on this roster, his weakness in the faceoff dot hindered his progression into that role. Finally with the signing of Eric Belanger on July 1st, Cogliano's future with the Oilers was decided. Not only can Belanger play the role of the penalty killing two-way forward, but he can do it winning a lot more faceoffs and in a bigger body. Furthermore, the impressive showing by Anton Lander at the Oilers' recent development camp also didn't help Cogliano's case. So while Cogliano has been a good soldier for the Oilers over the past four seasons, there simply wasn't enough room on the roster for him moving forward.

Getting a second round pick for Cogliano in my opinion is on the low side for a durable established NHL player who is only 24 years old, although the return the Oilers could have gotten for him likely would have decreased if they had waited any longer. Cogliano is currently set to go to arbitration on July 21st where he likely would have recieved a raise on the $1M he was paid this past season. If Cogliano were to receive a ruling that the Oilers didn't like, he would have become an unrestricted free agent and the Oilers would have lost him for nothing. In recent years the Oilers emphasis on improving center ice has resulted in a crowded depth chart down the middle. Strong drafting and the signing of Belanger ultimately made Cogliano expendable. In terms of asset management the Oilers made the right move, but I won't be surprised to see Cogliano develop into an effective 3rd line center down the road. While the Oilers didn't win this trade today, it hopefully won't be one they regret in the future.

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