Another Approach To Projecting Andrew Cogliano

Jonathan Willis
April 29 2009 07:19PM

Cogliano

I read an article on Irreverent Oiler Fans the other day that started me wondering on the offensive potential of Andrew Cogliano. That post worked backwards; looking at NHL impact players and identifying what percentage of them had similar seasons at the same age. What I’m about to do is the opposite; I’ll look at players who had similar offensive seasons to Andrew Cogliano and attempt to establish what range of offense he’s likely to produce as an NHL’er.

To do this, I’m going to use the “power play” function at Hockey Reference, which allows searches based on certain criteria. Let’s take a quick look at Cogliano’s season before we decide on our criteria.

Cogliano: 82GP – 18G – 20A – 38PTS, -6 (.46 PTS/GM)

I’ve decided to do a search of seasons by 21-year olds with the following requirements:

  • Must have occurred within the past ten years
  • Must have recorded between .37 and .55 PTS/GM (20% variance in either direction)
  • Must have appeared in a minimum of 50 games
  • Must have been the player’s second NHL season

I got back a field of sixteen possible seasons (including Cogliano). Three of those occurred this season – Martin Hanzal and Sergei Kostitsyn, so those were eliminated. I also eliminated Milan Michalek, Brandon Dubinsky and David Krejci, since their first NHL seasons consisted of less than ten games. Here’s the remaining field:

  • Corey Perry: 0.54 PTS/GM (2007)
  • Mike Richards: 0.54 PTS/GM (2007)
  • Steve Bernier: 0.50 PTS/GM (2007)
  • Maxim Afinogenov: 0.46 PTS/GM (2001)
  • Radim Vrbata: 0.46 PTS/GM (2003)
  • Henrik Sedin: 0.44 PTS/GM (2002)
  • Daniel Sedin: 0.41 PTS/GM (2002)
  • Rostislav Olesz: 0.40 PTS/GM (2007)
  • Josef Vasicek: 0.40 PTS/GM (2002)

That gives us nine possible comparables. We should also look at how those players performed in their first and third seasons. The first season is to compare to Cogliano’s for closeness, and the third to show the range of production we should expect from Cogliano next year. First, here’s Cogliano’s rookie year:

Cogliano: 82GP – 18G – 27A – 45PTS, +1 (.55 PTS/GM)

Here’s how the list stacks up:

  • Name | First Season | Third Season |
  • Mike Richards | .43 PTS/GM | 1.03 PTS/GM
  • Corey Perry | .45 PTS/GM | .77 PTS/GM
  • Josef Vasicek | .40 PTS/GM | .55 PTS/GM
  • Henrik Sedin | .35 PTS/GM | .50 PTS/GM
  • Maxim Afinogenov | .52 PTS/GM | .49 PTS/GM
  • Rostislav Olesz | .36 PTS/GM | .46 PTS/GM
  • Steve Bernier | .69 PTS/GM | .42 PTS/GM
  • Daniel Sedin | .45 PTS/GM | .39 PTS/GM
  • Radim Vrbata | .58 PTS/GM | .31 PTS/GM

Two players took massive steps forward in their third season (Richards, Perry) while one took a massive step back (Vrbata). That direction has so far shown which way their careers have gone – the players taking big steps forward are now legitimate first-liners, while Vrbata has had one good season since but is not currently playing in the NHL. The other six fluctuated slightly up or down. Of that group of six, three (Vasicek, Olesz, Bernier) are either complementary players or look to be heading in that direction, while the other three (Sedin, Afinogenov, Sedin) have been or are first-line players.

One thing that I find particularly surprising is the way this group clusters – a player is either at one end of it or the other. So what does this mean for Andrew Cogliano? I’d suggest that while we can’t draw many definite conclusions, there is one in particular that is important: Cogliano’s performance to date does not preclude him from becoming an offensive difference maker.

While I have repeatedly suggested that Andrew Cogliano may be useful trade bait given that he is a quality player with attributes (small size, youth, offensive ability) the Oilers have in plenty, this list makes me a little more hesitant to trade him. I’ve been projecting Cogliano all along as topping out as a second-tier offensive talent, and the fact that multiple players (better than half the sample: Richards, Perry, Sedin, Sedin, Afinogenov) went on to have a high-end offensive game makes me reconsider that projection. It may very well be that Andrew Cogliano has greater offensive talent than he’s been given credit for to date.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 heavyd
April 29 2009, 07:29PM
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He should be on the first line, and see what him and hemsky can do together, and then get a big center to play with them, and this can even be a 1b line and horcoff can be your one 1a or 1b first line if you want it that way. If that makes sense?

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#2 cm
April 29 2009, 07:54PM
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thanks JW great post

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#3 David S
April 29 2009, 08:01PM
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Hmmm...

I dunno. I'd be hard pressed to write off Cogs based on this season with him playing with minimal talents for a good part of the year. Still, despite that he showed moments of brilliance that had me wondering what he was doing back there on the third line. I wonder though if he is a hard guy to place as his game relies so much on break-out speed, which we used woefully seldom this year. He seems to be the guy born for the stretch pass or lob. And when he's on it, his drives to the net are plain awesome. I'd hate for us to drop him just when he's coming on, especially since we so dearly need difference makers.

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#4 Colby Cosh
April 29 2009, 08:21PM
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What this post makes me wonder is: does he have a twin brother?

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#5 West Coast Oil, $Version=1
April 29 2009, 08:27PM
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Out of the successful I would also remove the Sedins as their value lies too much on each other. If one Sedin gets hot so does the other as they are so intertwined. I would also like to see a contrast as to which line each of those players played on and their level of team mates. Cogs played on a 3rd line with no offensive stars and received very minimal pp time. In my eyes way too many factors to make a judgement on Cogs future.

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#6 Mike
April 29 2009, 08:41PM
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One more reason why Omark spending some time in Russia might be for the best. Moving Cogliano to make room for another little guy would be tragic.

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#7 Robin Brownlee
April 29 2009, 09:08PM
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Interesting, but . . . -- What was the average ice time of the players you're using as comparisons in the seasons you cite? -- What about the strength of the teams the players were with in the seasons you cite? -- Were they protected third-liners? Kids who got some time in the top six? How much time?

Cogliano, as many have said, would be useful trade bait, but he's under-valued right now. My best guess is he's going to develop into a guy who will produce results right around the 25-30-55 mark over the next three seasons. If I'm Tanbellini, I'm not moving him unless I get a return based on those projections.

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#8 Archaeologuy
April 29 2009, 09:10PM
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Willis, I think adding to the intrigue behind Cogliano is his shooting percentage. It is ridiculously high and has been in both his seasons. Plus, we know that Cogs wasnt playing with high quality players or given much PP time. I wouldnt move the kid unless it was one heck of deal.

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#9 Jonathan Willis
April 29 2009, 09:29PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Those are all really good questions for a full workup, which I may do later this summer. Right now I was hoping to get a range that Cogliano would fit into; I had no idea the range would be so wide.

I've been picturing a 55/60 point player, but it may be that his potential ceiling is higher than that.

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#10 RossCreek
April 29 2009, 09:34PM
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@ Archaeologuy: Like Brent Seabrook? (LOL)

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#11 DBO
April 29 2009, 09:40PM
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Jonathan: great post. i think this is one of the central questions surrounding this team. As you put it, there is alot to be said for dealing Cogliano to address other areas, but I'm always scared to see him leave and become an impact player somewhere else. One thing in Cogliano's favour has to be his lack of PP and PK time this year, and not to mention his lack of quality linemates. his speed and goal scoring make him an interesting prospect, and hard to gauge. One thing about everyone else from your list was they all have some size (except maybe Afinogenov), whereas Cogs has none. I think if he could learn the position his speed to the outside would ideally suit him for a 1st or 2nd line spot on the wing. hell, play him with Horcoff and hemsky and see what happens. pretty much everyone else on the team had a shot with those 2 except Cogliano. Would like to see what he could do with those two.

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#12 Archaeologuy
April 29 2009, 09:44PM
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@ RossCreek: LOL, not quite.

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#13 RossCreek
April 29 2009, 09:48PM
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OUT: Dwayne Roloson Ales Kotalik Robert Nilsson Ethan Moreau Marc Pouliot Rob Schremp Tom Gilbert Steve Staios

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#14 RossCreek
April 29 2009, 09:51PM
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@ Archaeologuy: You're still wrong ;-)

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#15 RossCreek
April 29 2009, 09:56PM
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Anyone like Kari Lehtonen?

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#16 Archaeologuy
April 29 2009, 09:59PM
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@ RossCreek: I doubt it

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#17 RossCreek
April 29 2009, 10:01PM
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Colby Armstrong or Garnet Exelby?

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#18 Jon K
April 29 2009, 10:18PM
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JW: Of the comparables you've listed (Richards, Perry, etc), I don't particularly see any as having comparable player types. While generally player type comparisons don't enter into a more statistical approach, I think it can be important in conjunction with them. Excepting Afinogenov, all of those players have an attribute which Cogliano lacks: size. And I think that can be important in whether a player continues to improve season over season in their offensive contributions.

I see Cogliano's top end as similar to your previous projection, a second-tier offensive talent. I would be greatly surprised if he ever surpasses 65 points or 30 goals.

Every team needs players like that though and Cogliano's speed can be a useful asset against certain match-ups (slower, less talented defensemen).

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#19 Jonathan Willis
April 29 2009, 10:23PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Anyone like Kari Lehtonen?

Yep.

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#20 RossCreek
April 29 2009, 10:23PM
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If I were runnin the Oil, I think I'd like a 3rd line that looked something like this: Moen-Pahlsson-Armstrong

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#21 RossCreek
April 29 2009, 10:24PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Maybe the Oil could cook something up with the Thrash. Aside from the obvious (Kovalchuk), I'd have interest in the above players I mentioned (Armstrong, Exelby & Lehtonen). All could fill big needs IMO.

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#22 Jonathan Willis
April 29 2009, 10:31PM
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@ Jon K:

I agree that none of the players listed are a close comparison to Cogliano stylisticly; most are bigger and slower players.

I'm not making any sweeping statements based on this little study, but I am walking away with one key point: Andrew Cogliano's numbers to date may indicate a player with a high-end offensive potential. I don't see any reason to limit his projection to the sixty point mark; I haven't seen anything resembling solid proof that he will surpass it, but I now suspect it's entirely possible.

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#23 Jonathan Willis
April 29 2009, 10:32PM
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RossCreek wrote:

If I were runnin the Oil, I think I’d like a 3rd line that looked something like this: Moen-Pahlsson-Armstrong

Even Moreau - Pahlsson - Pisani would be miles better than what was employed this year.

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#24 Dan
April 29 2009, 10:51PM
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Two things led to the demise of Craig MacTavish, the overuse of Shawn Horcoff and the underuse of Andrew Cogliano. I wouldn't want to trade Cogliano until I see what Cogliano could do with consistant top 6 minutes and consistant playing time.

The biggest problem with Oilers other than size itself is too many players who don't play well away from the puck. It's like when they don't have the puck they are totally lost.

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#25 Phil
April 29 2009, 11:11PM
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Great post as usual, JW.

You haven't been alone in mentioning Cogliano as tradebait, but I've never been able to understand this. I think he is tailor-made for the 'new' NHL, and could be almost as big a piece of the Oilers puzzle going forward as Gagner.

Keep up the good work!

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#26 Archaeologuy
April 29 2009, 11:13PM
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The desire to add bigger players should not come at the expense of the skill on this team. Just because a guy is small does not mean he wont be productive. There is no reason to get rid of all the smallish guys on the club. There are plenty of unproductive players to move on from in order to make room for the size. The Oilers' problem isnt that they have small skilled guys, its that they have no skilled big guys to accompany them. @ RossCreek: The Seabrook trade you proposed was killed in my mind the second Cogs' name was included. This article only reinforces that feeling.

Moving Cogliano now just seems like such poor asset management. He just finished his sophomore season on a bad team run by now fired coach. He was kept away from good opportunities and played with bad players. His trade value and potential couldnt be any worse unless his name was Horcoff. He's young, fast, and can score. Let him play out until he's an RFA at least.

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#27 RossCreek
April 29 2009, 11:18PM
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@ Archaeologuy: For the record, I never proposed the deal. Just said I'd make it if it were there.

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#28 Jon K
April 29 2009, 11:18PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

I'd agree that it's certainly too early to close the book on Cogliano. Many things are certainly possible in hockey. Parise is a prime example of that.

The issue I have is that Cogliano doesn't have the offensive creativity, vision, or size to sustain possession in the offensive zone. His game is fairly one dimensional in that his offense comes on the rush where his speed is an asset, or when other players on his line can sustain possesion.

His offensive numbers prior to the NHL support the conclusion that he lacks a higher offensive level as well. Looking to players like Perry and Richards, they all had elite offensive numbers in at least one season prior to the NHL. Cogliano cannot say that.

The closest he came to that was 50 points in 38 games as a 19 year old in NCAA, which on its face is not great. It is even less impressive when noting that he played on an absolute powerhouse that season and he was only the team's third highest scorer.

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#29 roughneck
April 30 2009, 12:16AM
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Just because Im bored and wanted to take a look at the plausibility of cogs getting better at faceoffs. I believe its likely but thought id take a look at it from a really basic oiler statistical perspective

horcoff.. a similar sized dude stoll..... gags cogs

So here it is

Horc 00/01 took 122 draws won 41.8% 01/02 took 454 won 46.2% 02/03 took 301 won 42.8 Stoll 02/03 took 30 won 63.3 Horc 03/04 took 1378 won 50.6% stoll took 1019 won 54.1 Horc 05/06 took 1421 won 52.7 Peca year Stoll took 1348 won 56.8 Peca year Horc 06/07 took 1422 won 50.6 Stoll took 901 won 55.6

07/08 horc took 963 won 50.6 stoll took 1229 won 55.1 Cogs took 542 won 39.5 Gags took 299 won 41.8

08/09 horc took 1756 won 53.9% Cogs took 702 won 37.2 Gags took 690 won 42.0

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#30 Eli Cash
April 30 2009, 01:14AM
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@ Jon K: you hit the nail on the head. Cogs to me is a slightly more skilled verion of Todd Marchant.....Million dollar legs, Ten cent hands....I think his trade value is highest right now because he's young and the perception around the league is that he has a bright offensive future. Trade him now before he kills our hopes* and dreams.

*Hope- it is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness. (stolen from the matrix)

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#31 Phil
April 30 2009, 01:36AM
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@ Phil:

Quit ruining my good name, I'd never be positive about another stats motivated p0ast by JW.

Just kidding. Nice read-up as usual, although the bottom line is I still think Cogs is tradebait #1 along with 77.

Nice group of names he's associated with though.

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#32 Hemmertime
April 30 2009, 07:56AM
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@ Robin Brownlee: or anyone really.

Whats the chances of us resigning Kotalik?

I think he can pull a reverse Satan, leave Buffalo for Edmonton and turn into a higher tier player. He can play point on PP and allow us to move an offensive D man easier. He shouldn't command more than the 2.5 - 3 range I believe. More offense than Pisser but less D. I know having softer Big guy here is not a goal but after other player moves we may have the space. Only problem I see is he is not a 3rd or 4th line type player, and not a top 6 FW you would hitch a season too - I would LOVE a bonafide over .7-.8 PPG game guy, but as a plan C I wouldnt mind Ales

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#33 Dan
April 30 2009, 08:00AM
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@ Hemmertime: According to Tambo's interview with Tencer, it sounds like Kotalik is very much an option to come back, but I think he's waiting to see if he can hit a home run first. I believe Kotalik is the fall back plan.

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#34 Archaeologuy
April 30 2009, 08:20AM
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Eli Cash wrote:

Todd Marchant…..Million dollar legs, Ten cent hands

Ten Cent Hands? He out scored our 1st line Centre this past season! Did you watch any of the games?

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#35 Archaeologuy
April 30 2009, 08:22AM
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@ RossCreek: Right, forgot it wasnt you who proposed that one, my bad.

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#36 godot10
April 30 2009, 08:25AM
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Richards and Perry had really good players to play with.

If Cogliano had Simon Gagne, or Ryan Getzlaf to play with. He's likely to have Moreau and Pisani, because Gagner is likely to get the better wingers.

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#37 Hemmertime
April 30 2009, 08:29AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Todd Marchant…..Million dollar legs, Ten cent hands Ten Cent Hands? He out scored our 1st line Centre this past season! Did you watch any of the games?

You must mean in season series, Horc had as many pts this year as Marchants last 3 years combined. Speaking of Toddy tho, he was 7th in the NHL for faceoff percent and is a FA this year... :)

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#38 Jonathan Willis
April 30 2009, 08:30AM
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Eli Cash wrote:

Ten cent hands

You don't put up the shooting percentages that Cogliano has throughout his career (including college, I've discovered) without being able to score on shots most guys can't.

I think Cogliano's hands are just fine.

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#39 Hemmertime
April 30 2009, 08:31AM
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^ Correction, had wrong stat page, 7th in Playoffs, but still had 50.2% in season

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#40 sittingatmydesk
April 30 2009, 08:39AM
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@ RossCreek: you have to be realistic man, you just cant get rid of players like that,,plus Dwayne Roloson and Ales Kotalik are already out ( UFA)

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#41 Archaeologuy
April 30 2009, 08:45AM
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@ Hemmertime: no, Eli Cash was saying that Cogs had Marchant's hands. I was saying that Cogs scored more goals than Horc.

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#42 Chris
April 30 2009, 09:18AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I’ve been picturing a 55/60 point player, but it may be that his potential ceiling is higher than that.

This isn't exactly the boldest statement EVER Willis. Of course at 21 Coglino's fullest potential is unknown. You can say that about any NHL/player or prospect.

Jon K wrote:

Looking to players like Perry and Richards, they all had elite offensive numbers in at least one season prior to the NHL. Cogliano cannot say that

I agree with Jon K. Coglino lacks not only the size, grit, and dimension of these two players; but the pedigree as well. Oiler fans, Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves here.

Coglino's first two seasons have been a pleasant surprise. Let's take it for what it is and be happy. It's neither realistic, nor fair to start spinning Coglino as a real bet to become a star player...

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#43 Archaeologuy
April 30 2009, 09:43AM
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Chris wrote:

I agree with Jon K. Coglino lacks not only the size, grit, and dimension of these two players; but the pedigree as well.

So averaging about 2 points a game in junior and more than 1 a game in his sophomore College year isnt good enough pedigree at all? Being a 1st round Pick doesnt add to the pedigree?

Some of you guys are really reaching here. Tambi says he wants to get bigger so now everyone is saying small isnt good enough. Parise, Datsyuk, St. Louis, Marc Savard, Backstrom, Cammalleri are all roughly Cogs' size. Small is just fine, but the team cant be ALL small. Its been 3 bad years and everyone is ready to say blow it all up. The club ALREADY did that. The Oilers cant get rid of all its young players every 3-4 years and expect to get better.

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#44 RossCreek
April 30 2009, 09:48AM
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@ Archaeologuy: What Jr. league did he play in again? Riiiiiiiiiiite.

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#45 Rick
April 30 2009, 09:57AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Eli Cash wrote: Ten cent hands You don’t put up the shooting percentages that Cogliano has throughout his career (including college, I’ve discovered) without being able to score on shots most guys can’t. I think Cogliano’s hands are just fine.

It's kind of splitting hairs but his shooting percentage may be less about what kind of shots he scores on and more about getting to the areas of the ice that help maximize his chances.

The reason I point this out is that I don't actually recall Cogliano scoring the sniper type goals. More importantly though, if you can flush out the type of goals he scores (getting to right spot vs shooting to the right spot) it could help narrow down who he projects to be more similar to.

The kind of play each player capitalizes on could be the difference between him projecting to be a Bernier or a Sedin.

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#46 RossCreek
April 30 2009, 09:57AM
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@ Archaeologuy: Speaking of reaches, Datsyuk's gotta have a couple inches and 20 lbs. on Cogliano. I'm not saying Pavel's big cause he's not. I think Cogliano will be decent, but to place him in the Richards/Perry category is a undoubtedly a stretch. Both of those players have a very realistic shot at being on Team Canada. Even if Cogliano is a decent 2nd tier player, why is he untouchable. People seem to think that if you trade him, you're giving up on him - no, you're filling a more prominent need, otherwise you're not moving him. You're not moving him just to move him. He is without a doubt one of the best bargaining chips the Oil have to potentially make a splash (gotta think Hemsky & Gagner are unlikely to be moved). If he's moved for another young player that fills a more pressing need, then why not move him?

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#47 Archaeologuy
April 30 2009, 10:02AM
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RossCreek wrote:

Speaking of reaches, Datsyuk’s gotta have a couple inches and 20 lbs. on Cogliano. I’m not saying Pavel’s big cause he’s not.

Datsyuk is 1 inch and 10 pounds heavier and 8 years older.

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#48 Chris
April 30 2009, 10:07AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Some of you guys are really reaching here.

Yes. The "GUYS" who are trying to compare Coglino to Perry, and Richards.

Richards is a center whose shooting percentage increased from 6.55% his second year to above 12% this season; hence the increase in offence. Coglino's shooting percentage is already ridiculously high at over 15%... Are you seriously trying to tell me he can double that to above 30% to see a similar increase in offence the next three to four seasons?

Perry, on the other hand is a 6'3" tough as nails winger who can dominate the boards, retrieve the puck and score by launching more than TWICE as many shots at the net as Coglino. Even with the biggest set of Oilergoggles in the universe, it is laughable to me to even try to compare Coglino's growth potential to that of Perry.

With Willis generating content like this; it is easy for me to see why so many Oiler fans overvalue thier assets.

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#49 Archaeologuy
April 30 2009, 10:14AM
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RossCreek wrote:

If he’s moved for another young player that fills a more pressing need, then why not move him?

What need are you filling? it isnt scoring because there arent too many young guys with offensive potential that other teams are willing to move for another young offensive guy in return.

So are you really planning on using a young offensive player to get you a 3rd liner that can be had via free agency or in other deals? Its trading down, not up.

Youth is at a premium in the NHL now because of the Cap, so any trade that involves a guy who still has 2 contracts before he hits UFA status better be good.

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#50 RossCreek
April 30 2009, 10:15AM
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My stats sheet says 5-11 to 5-9, 197 to 179. I know there's always lies within these stats, but thats my info.

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