How Do You Solve A Problem Like Cogliano?

Jonathan Willis
August 02 2009 06:00AM

Andrew Cogliano is an excellent young hockey player with a bright NHL future ahead of him. What that future holds is still uncertain – can he fit in Edmonton long-term? If so, where?

It needs to be said that Cogliano is a tremendous talent, and has done a lot to grab attention at a very young age. Drafted 25th overall by the Oilers in 2005, he ranks fourth in his draft class in points – behind only Sidney Crosby, Anze Kopitar, and Paul Stastny. In that respect, he represents a very real and tangible win for an Oilers’ scouting staff that has often been blamed for the team’s failings. They gambled on the small, speedy offensive forward playing in a lower level league (OPJHL) and to date it’s paid off richly.

He’s an incredibly fast skater; quite possibly the best on a team that has some good ones. Despite Sportsnet’s rather stupid scouting report (“Is more of a playmaker than scorer and needs to work on his shot”) he has an excellent shot that he uses judiciously; he’s had very good shooting percentages two years running and has scored 18 goals in each of his NHL seasons.

He’s still a young player, so his defensive game (which does have promise) isn’t where it should be yet and he’s just coming into the years where he’ll be a real positive difference maker for his NHL team. There are a few things working against Edmonton being that team though, starting with his inclusion in a package that would have brought Dany Heatley to the Oilers.

Do The Oilers Want To Trade Cogliano?

The short answer is simple: “No”. There’s been some talk since Cogliano’s name was first leaked that it may be difficult to mend fences with him if the Dany Heatley deal doesn’t take place. I don’t see it that way at all.

Frankly, despite Cogliano’s excellent upside, it’s pretty unlikely that he’s ever going to score 50 goals. This is a simple case of the Oilers being interested in one of the best goal-scoring wingers in the NHL, and having to give up something valuable for him. Certainly Cogliano should be smart enough to realize that the abortive trade shows how much value he has around the league, rather than viewing it as the Oilers giving up on him.

Where Does Cogliano Fit On The Roster?

Despite Cogliano’s obvious value, I do wonder if he’s a fit at centre in the short- to long-term.

The first problem is his inability in the faceoff circle. Last season, Cogliano went 37.2% on faceoffs – the worst season by any frequently used centre since 2000. Personally, I don’t view this as an insurmountable obstacle – the Oilers already have at least two wingers (Dustin Penner and Marc Pouliot) who can win draws and then switch back over to the wing after the faceoff.

The real problem is that the depth chart at centre is clogged right now. Sam Gagner is quite clearly the future of the franchise up the middle; a phenomenal talent who has two NHL seasons under his belt despite being under the age of 20. Aside from Gagner, veteran centre Shawn Horcoff is signed for the next six years, and even if he weren’t giving both top-six centre spots to a pair of players as young (and still undeveloped) as Gagner and Cogliano is not a recipe for success.

That leaves the third line spot, a role that doesn’t seem a fit for Cogliano’s skill-set; he’s too good offensively and not good enough defensively to fit there right now. He’ll certainly need more minutes in the next few years than that position would allow him.

The obvious, and possibly inevitable, answer is to convert Cogliano to left wing. Unfortunately, Jason Gregor has repeatedly stated that Cogliano is uncomfortable in that position, and in addition the depth chart is pretty crowded there already (Penner, O’Sullivan, Moreau). Still, I think that Cogliano may need to get used to the idea, and room can be made either via trade or by moving Penner over to RW - perhaps creating a top-six something like this:

  1. Cogliano/O’Sullivan – Horcoff – Hemsky
  2. O’Sullivan/Cogliano – Gagner – Penner

The other alternative in the Oilers’ unending (since the Smyth trade) search for a top-line LW is to dangle Cogliano as trade-bait for a legitimate game-breaker; something the Oilers have already done once.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, 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 Fiveandagame
August 02 2009, 06:11AM
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Moving Cogliano to the wing isn't a bad idea, but why LW? Also why move Penner to the RW, doesn't the RW typically have more skating and have to cover a larger area of the ice than the LW?

I think if Cogs can get some consistency out of training camp on the wing, he may be more comfortable by the time the puck drops in October, with the macBlender gone, he may just get that chance.

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#2 HackTheBone
August 02 2009, 07:29AM
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I thought P.O.S could play all three positions, couldn't we have: Penner - Horcoff - Hemsky Cogliano - Gagner - P.O.S

I'd be quite happy with that top six, and to see what they can do this year. One good veteran center for the 3rd and I think we a have a team that will be competitive for the 6th - 8th spot and we don't lose any young talent. But good god we need someone to help in the face-off circle and on the pk.

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#3 namflashback
August 02 2009, 08:10AM
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Well, in their rookie season, didn't Cogliano play C and Gagner shifted to the RW? I remember that the line basically let Gagner handle a bunch of the puck distribution.

Let Gagner take the right side faceoffs, OSullivan can take some left side faceoffs, and Cogliano can skate take the C responsibilities.

I know that this isn't the ideal situation long term, but given the current roster . . .

Alternately, hire Adam Oates as a faceoff coach.

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#4 Archaeologuy
August 02 2009, 08:41AM
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It's hard for me to believe that Cogs cant play on the wing without ever seeing him play any extended time in that position. What evidence do we have that he cant play there? The word of one Craig Q. MacTavish? Honestly, is Cogliano SO unadaptive that he cant learn a position that so many Centres have been forced to learn in order to stay in the NHL? No. There is absolutely no proof to suggest Cogs cant do it.

The only road block to Cogs playing the wing is Tambi's inability to find another C this off season. The lack of activity post July 1 coupled with the loss of Brodziak might force the Team's hand into playing Cogs another season as the 3rd centre.

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#5 BigE57
August 02 2009, 09:03AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

It’s hard for me to believe that Cogs cant play on the wing without ever seeing him play any extended time in that position. What evidence do we have that he cant play there? The word of one Craig Q. MacTavish? Honestly, is Cogliano SO unadaptive that he cant learn a position that so many Centres have been forced to learn in order to stay in the NHL? No. There is absolutely no proof to suggest Cogs cant do it.

Agreed, I think it would be far more difficult for a winger to make the transition to centre than the opposite considering a centre has arguably more defnsive resposibility than a guy on the wing.

Unless, they're moving for a bona fide scoring left wing, I don't think the Oilers should consider moving Cogliano.......again.

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#6 Derek Truman
August 02 2009, 09:13AM
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Ah who cares, we havent changed at all from last season (minus a few things) we still have the same players/size problems that were supposed to be addressed as per Tambellini that hasnt been. Instead of trying to pick up another point producing winger, and a good 3rd line centerman (like tambellini said he wanted) we are going with the same lineup cause he wont make the decisions to trade/bury some of those stupid contracts in the minors. No grit, no scoring, no faceoff specialist, prepare to watch the same garbage as last year. Brutal, im disappointed in this team

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#7 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
August 02 2009, 10:06AM
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@ Derek Truman: I agree,and what is worse alot of the other reams in the division have improved and the Oilers have sat still and done basically nothing.

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#8 Archaeologuy
August 02 2009, 10:17AM
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oilersseasonticketholdersince99 wrote:

what is worse alot of the other reams in the division have improved and the Oilers have sat still and done basically nothing.

Are you trying to suggest that the 469th round draft pick that the team got for Brodziak wont score 60 goals this season or that the team wont become significantly better by losing the only forward who scored 20 goals last season who wasnt named Hemsky? Because it's this kind of pessimism that I just wont stand for. No sir.

The answer to all of our problems is obviously promoting AHL talent into NHL spots and hoping for the best.

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#9 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
August 02 2009, 10:37AM
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@ Archaeologuy Are you trying to tell me we will not be challenging for the division title this year? The team has changed lots from last year has it not? That team was good enough according to Lowe,Mac T and Katz.I want to see what the Oilers propaganda machine puts out this year when we sh*t the bed. It was all Danny Heatleys fault!!!

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#10 Ogden Brother
August 02 2009, 10:39AM
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You gotta love seeing the coach bashers turn into roster bashers!

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#11 OILER86
August 02 2009, 10:41AM
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The thing that really irks me is at the end of this past season we heard Tambo state that he wanted us to be a bigger, tougher team to play against, and that we needed a faceoff man. Now he says he's content to start the season with the same group minus Brodziak and Rolie? Where is the accountability for your OWN expectations?!!!!!!!

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#12 99thoilerfan
August 02 2009, 11:36AM
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My two cents,

The Oil is handcuffed by it's own roster. Have too many contracts now, can't sign more, must trade to move bodies out, and hope for a 3 out for only 1-2in...

OR

They must wait for some of the contracts to expire to gain flexablity again. Look how log jammed the Sharks are.. Something must happen there too...

I'm just say'n, is all I'm say'n.

PS: Don't bring up the Wall's contract..ouch

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#13 SkinnyD
August 02 2009, 11:52AM
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Jon, could you give some examples of players who've successfully been transitioned from Centermen to Wingers? I'm curious to know what that list looks like.

I drool when I think of what Cogliano is capable of - he's scored 18 goals on the 3rd freaking line. What would happen if Gagner or Hemsky were feeding him sweet saucer passes regularly? He certainly has the speed to keep up on the 1st line...

However. Playing the same position since birth is NOT something that's easy to 'just change'. I always revert back to winger mentality when I play. No, I'm nowhere near professional. But it's akin to muscle memory - you just 'go' that way after awhile, and it's truly tough to change that - even at a relatively young age. These guys play these positions for over a decade before hitting the NHL - I don't think it's that easy to change. Plus? Many of them just aren't that bright...

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#14 HackTheBone
August 02 2009, 11:58AM
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Zherdev got awarded 3.9, I wonder if the Rangers walk away?

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#15 linnaeus
August 02 2009, 12:36PM
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I'd like the Oilers haters to take a deep breath. The sky is not falling, the Oilers aren't getting worse.

While I can't make up my mind if Tambellini is doing a good job or a bad one I do know that the people bashing the current roster and saying we will be terrible are missing the boat. Without making a trade, without signing another free agent, we will be better. That is because so many of our players are likely to be better this year than last. Better players equals a better team.

The following is a list of players who should be better this year than last. There are a lot of them. Some are just going to be riding the wave others will lead the parade but it is hard to think of more than four players who are likely to get worse:

-Cogliano, lets start with him because he is the subject of this post. The solution to his problem is you don't let him take faceoffs and you move him around a lot, let him find his place (1L,2L,2C,2R,3L,3C,3R, double shift him in 4L,4C,4R). Let him roam. This is a player with a unique skill set and a big upside. MacT worked really hard last year to teach him the structural aspects of playing center ice, like going back deep and supporting the puck coming out of his own end. As the year wore on he began to show signs that he got it. Continues to go to the hard areas and get close before he shoots. Apparently very coachable. If he could learn to take faceoffs he would be something very special. I'd have somebody working with him everyday, like Oates, -Penner - new coach who doesn't hate him will help, has spent his off season working hard on his first step, reunited with his best fit linemates, -Gagner, older, more ready to come hard at the start of the season, -O'Sullivan, hard to imagine he could play worse than he did at the end of last year. Versatile and highly skilled player, -Jacques - finally healthy, perhaps ready to be the impact player he was in junior and AHL. Here is your grit and tough to play against addition. Big, fast, and psycho with fair hands, -Pisani - healthy, full season, well delineated responsibilities, -Nilsson - yes I know we all like to bash him but he has shown flashes of brilliance like last year's performance on the power play and the year before that with EVS Assists, strongly committed to playing in the NHL, -Pouliot - more ice time, back at center presumably, if he accepts his role as 3C he could be a very useful player, -Brule - as things stand will slot into the fourth line job unless he totally messes up at camp. We've all seen he has heart, Horcoff - Brule and Pouliot are going to take the defensive load off of Horc. Quinn would rather give up goals than waste a good scorer, one of the few on this team, so how bad Pouliot and Brule are or aren't on the dot will be irrelevant, they will get their at bats and reduce Horc's work load. Also will benefit from playing all season with Penner, who simply makes him better, Hemsky - Reunited with two guys who get him. Statistically he plays better with those two guys, by a large margin, than he does without them, Stortini - He keeps getting a bit better each year. There is no reason to believe he has peaked yet. Quinn will want his fourth line to roll people and forecheck like demons. All three guys are likely to see their scoring opportunities go up, MacIntyre - based on Quinn's MO we are likely to see way more of this likeable goon, will he have an impact? Undoubtedly, though not always for the good, by the end of the season with good coaching we will all be in love with the guy, Moreau - who knows where he fits in or what sort of season he will have. Quinn likes veterans, especially ones with heart. On the other hand Stortini, Jacques, MacIntyre, and yes, even Penner, will be expected to do more of the heavy lifting. Moreau won't have to run around taking dumb penalities.

Most importantly for all of them, Quinn hates counter punch teams. For him it is about aggression and puck possession. I'd guess, based on that, we will also see Ryan Stone. Too bad he can't skate because man does he love to hit anything that moves. He also can really distribute the puck.

This brings us to the defence and I think there is reason to expect improvement there as well.

Visnovsky - full season, still probably in his prime, working hard to be ready at start of season, Gilbert - likely to see his role on special teams increase enormously, also still young and getting better in that odd up and down way that makes defencemen so hard to predict, Grebeshkov - you know with a contract like that he is likely to want to have a great season - really self confident, proved last year how tough he is, we are about to see the first year of his prime, Smid - last year he had some great games, some terrible games, and some games were he looked like he was an NHL vet. Given he is physically aggressive is likely to see way more minutes under Quinn and like Grebs he is really a very self confident young man, likely to surprise on the upside, Peckham - a young man with all the arrows pointing int he right direction. Will see more NHL time this year and earn every minute of it. Will he make mistakes, absolutely, does he make us harder to play against, certainly.

Then there are guys who will almost certainly get worse, Souray - just a function of the season he had last year. It will be very hard to match. Staois - getting older, obviously finding it a struggle, we should be looking for a replacement. Strudwyck - less ice time, more miles on the odometer. I'm guessing we may well see Dean Arsene, a guy who has really earned his chance.

Additionally, with the Oilers forechecking like their careers depend on it, because Pat Quinn doesn't know any other way to coach, our defence isn't going to be pinned in its own end all the time. We will see our opponents dumping the puck and going for a line change a lot more frequently. This should be very good for those guys, like Vis, who want to shake and bake.

In goal we have the engima and the kid. If Khabibulin wants to do his superman routine he is certainly still capable. If he doesn't there isn't much we can all do except look forward to drafting somewhere around #1. Deslauriers is a battler and would probably have been a great player in the days when teams scored in bunches. Sadly, nobody does anymore. Still he is probably going to win slightly over 50% of his games since the team above, all rebounding or improving, will score more goals in front of him.

In other words, this team, especially under Quinn and Renney will score more than its share of goals. It is however likely to be brutally bad at keeping them out of its own net. Teams that come here will get mauled and will give up goals. That will make us harder to play against. They will also score, a lot. We won't get blown out, we won't be soft, but 6-5 losses may well be depressingly common. As fans we may hate lossing but I'd sure rather loss 6-5 than 9-2 or 1-0, especially if occasionally we win 9-2.

Would a veteran 3C who can take faceoffs and kill penalties, and a younger vet 5-6D help immediately? Certainly! Not to mention the impact an established backup goaltender would have.

Are we going to be brutal without them? No. We have way too much talent still getting better to not improve. It is also worth remembering when we are frothing at the mouth that we have some great prospects in our system that will one day ably fill 3C and 5-6 D and talent to trade for a 2G if the need arises. That veteran help we keep demanding Tambo get will simply get in the way of the player development we need to make the focus of our team to guarantee the future.

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#16 Wanye Gretz
August 02 2009, 01:15PM
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@ linnaeus:

Uh, what do you really think? Be specific.

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#17 ScubaSteve
August 02 2009, 01:16PM
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Tough to follow that last epic novel, long, but a good post which I agree with.

The way I see it, we are one player (3C) from being a 5-7th team. Without that player, I see us being a 7-10th type team. Our D is strong, forwards can score, and top tier coaching will bump us into the playoffs.

All this snarling and angry arm waving is silly, if Tambo signs Malhotra tommorrow, it all changes. If he makes 2 moves, then the look of the team changes.

Archaeologuy wrote:

losing the only forward who scored 20 goals last season who wasnt named Hemsky?

Who was this that scored 20 goals FOR THE OILERS last year? Scoring is not the problem, this is a poor argument from you Arch, usually you have stronger points.

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#18 Milli
August 02 2009, 01:28PM
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@ 99thoilerfan: Ya, I agree with you 100%. I know listening to Tambo, he has a plan, and I think it is a good one. I also think that we, the crazy fans, are the polar opposite of last year. I'm waiting to see what a new coaching staff brings, another year of experience for the young uns, and ya, hopefully Tambo can swing a few more minor tweaks. As for Cogs, I think this kid will be a GREAT player and hated his name in the Heater deal. But, like him, I understood you have to give to get.

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#19 Robin Brownlee
August 02 2009, 01:30PM
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@ linnaeus: Congratulations. That might be the wordiest bit of naive, don't-worry-be-happy nothingness I've ever read. From unsupported conclusions to numbing wishful thinking to swiping Willis' all the "arrows pointing in the right direction" phrase, you've got it all.

-- "That is because so many of our players are likely to be better this year than last." Really? Why so certain? What are the indicators?

-- Gilbert is likely to see his role on special teams increase? How so? Gilbert benefitted last season from Visnovsky missing so many games with injury. If Visnovsky is healthy, how does that translate into an enourmous increase in special teams play for Gilbert? Given his back problems, it's far more than likely Gilbert will play less than last season in all situations, not more.

-- Where is all this increased ice time that Grebeshkov, Smid and Peckham are supposed to get to come from? At the expense of Souray? Visnovsky? Grebeshkov? Gilbert?

-- "Teams that come here will get mauled and will give up goals. That will make us harder to play against." How much grit and size have the Oilers added to the line-up? This is the softest line-up in the NW.

-- Nilsson is "strongly committed to playing in the NHL?" LACK of commitment has been Nilsson's greatest flaw since draft day. What makes him committed now that he's cashing checks on that nice big contract he got?

-- "Some great prospects in our system that will one day ably fill 3C and 5-6 D . . ." "Great prospects" become top-six forwards and top-4 defencemen.

-- "That veteran help we keep demanding Tambo get will simply get in the way of the player development . . ." Pardon? What about now? What about next season? What players in the system now are destined to become the veteran help the Oilers need? Veteran help means NHL help, not some ham-and-egger with eight minor league seasons on his resume. And drafted prospects don't become "veterans" after two years in the minors.

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#20 Joey Moss
August 02 2009, 01:37PM
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@ linnaeus: TL;DR

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#21 Dallas
August 02 2009, 01:48PM
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HackTheBone wrote:

I thought P.O.S could play all three positions, couldn’t we have: Penner - Horcoff - Hemsky Cogliano - Gagner - P.O.S I’d be quite happy with that top six, and to see what they can do this year. One good veteran center for the 3rd and I think we a have a team that will be competitive for the 6th - 8th spot and we don’t lose any young talent. But good god we need someone to help in the face-off circle and on the pk.

Who is P.O.S I have heard of M.A.P and M.P.S but seriously who is this person you speak of.

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#22 PaperDesigner
August 02 2009, 01:51PM
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Why not move Gagner to the right wing for now instead? Until he's ready to center the top line, he seems to be reasonably comfortable with playing on the wing; and I think he likes playing with Cogliano, so if it's for that cause, I don't think he'll mind.

Run with a top-six of:

O'Sullivan-Horcoff-Hemsky Penner/Nilsson-Cogliano-Gagner

After all, Gagner isn't that much better in the dot. If only one of those kids is taking draws, that might improve the overall face-off performance of this team if they only have one line that's a free space on the bingo card in the circle, instead of two.

It's still a bit of a risk (O'Sullivan needs to take the next step NOW, one of Penner or Nilsson has to step up, and likely one of Cogliano or Gagner has to take a step forward), but at least I can conceive of such a line-up working out.

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#23 HackTheBone
August 02 2009, 02:04PM
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P.O.S = Patrick O'Sullivan Yeah, I know it's not right.

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#24 ronaldo
August 02 2009, 02:08PM
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I love all the "this team will be better because they have one more year experience" nonsense. Nice thought if the other 29 teams took the year off last season and didn't gain the same experience. Or "this player will be better because he's working hard this offseason", same lame koolaid induced rubbish, good thing the other teams' players are just lounging around the pool. Or "well he had an off year last season so he's got to be better", blah, blah, blah. This is not specifically @ you linnaeus, but you did manage to hit every rose-coloured over-optomistic stereotype right on the head. ~Now what's really going to turn things around is Schemp getting his shot under a new coach.~

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#25 Dave
August 02 2009, 02:18PM
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I think most Oilers fans can agree Cogliano was the one part of the Heatley trade that they felt the most anxiety about. I think his lack of face off success coupled with the depth at LW makes him likely to end up on the right.

Anyone notice the way Cogs could give a rat's ass about Pitkanaen in the celebration even though Joni fed him?

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#26 Dallas
August 02 2009, 02:21PM
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Does anyone know what position Eberle plays I know he is real small and needs to get alot stronger but the kid has a great nose for the net and a ton of heart

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#27 James
August 02 2009, 02:21PM
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Jonathan: Great topic, and a great read.

My opinion is that we should leave him at center. He is a center who is not good at faceoffs. He will be better. Put him between Chopper and Pisani for an extended period of time and that fo% will increase. Chopper will sneak in to hack it back for us.

One bone I have to pick with you is his "great shot". Have you ever seen him score from the top of the circle back? I haven't. All the goals I've seen him score are from pretty close in front of the net.

The guys who stubbornly want to move him to the wing have to realize that a player needs to be comfortable in his position to help the team offensively (re: E.Cole)

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#28 Puttin'OnTheFoil
August 02 2009, 02:26PM
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What does PDP stand for? I know no one's used it in these comments, but I can't figure it out.

Pudgy? Portly? Porcine?

Also: Zherdev for 3.9? Do we touch that if the Rangers walk away? Doesn't seem to solve any of our problems, though frankly, neither does Brule/Pouliot/JFJ/etc.

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#29 DanMan
August 02 2009, 02:29PM
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Cogliano = trade bait

Gagner and Cogs are both rfas after this year, and we cant afford to keep them both. He should be traded this summer while his value is very high.

James wrote:

One bone I have to pick with you is his “great shot”. Have you ever seen him score from the top of the circle back? I haven’t. All the goals I’ve seen him score are from pretty close in front of the net.

This is true. He is not a sniper. He has good hands around the net, but his shooting % is not reflective of how great his shot is. It's a really goofy stat.

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#30 ronaldo
August 02 2009, 02:29PM
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@ James ~You mean like when Cole was comfortablely back on his wing on Oil/ Canes and let the world on fire.~

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#31 Nick Dynasty
August 02 2009, 02:31PM
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There's no money for Zherdev. Plus he's basically a poor man's Hemsky with about 1/10 as much heart and almost the same cap hit at 3.9M. I'd rather spend the rest of our cap on re-signing Smid and getting a solid 3rd line center.

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#32 ronaldo
August 02 2009, 02:32PM
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@ ronaldo "lit" not "let"

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#33 reijo29
August 02 2009, 02:39PM
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Does anyone know where you can find stats for where on the ice players score their goals from? When the Cogs debate comes up I have a hard time figuring out why everyone puts him on the left wing. Every Cogliano goal I can think of usually comes from him shooting from his off wing (hand). I'm pretty sure if he plays wing it will be the right side, likely with Gagner, which is good if we could find the correct LW to play with them. I think our best bets are 18 (hope not) or 22(JFJ) because they need a LW with some speed who will go into the corners.

Line up would likely be: 27-10-83 (Tried & True) 22-89-13 (Would really be the 3rd line) 18-19-34 (Would play tough minutes) 85-78-46 (Not sure who could take 85's Spot, Stone???)

Extras: 12 - Traded or sent to farm for Cap Relief 67 - Can pretty much fill in at C/RW on any of bottom 3 lines SMac - Play LW when we play against Teams w/ Heavies

Thoughts?

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#34 linnaeus
August 02 2009, 02:46PM
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Specifically Wayne,

1. I think if we don't make trades we will reunite our former first line resulting in,

Penner, 25 goals, Horcoff 25 goals, Hemsky 25 goals (that is, I freely acknowledge a great second line rather than a true first but you go with what you've got). Any of you want to make some sort of argument that each guy isn't capable of that number. Didn't think so.

2. Here we have to guess but I'm thinking O'Sullivan, Gagner, Cogliano in some combination.

(20, 20, 20) a decent second line. Very small, very soft, very gifted. Lots of character. Again, it isn't exactly predicting a miracle for either Cogs or O'Sully to score 20. Gagner can do it any time he decides to play a full season instead of the last half.

3. I think management is sold (in a bizarre way) on Pouliot. So they go with Pouliot, Moreau, and Pisani because Quinn likes his veterans.

(15, 15, 15). Again a decent third line by NHL standards. Nobody should doubt Moreau and Pisani can score that much given their history. Pouliot is a stretch but a regular gig and ice can do wonders.

4. Jacques, Brule, and Stortini are the likely fourth and Robin, if you think that is soft I gather you haven't played hockey in a long time. Brule plays like he is 6,4 and Jacques and Stortini are. They are, admittedly a black box in terms of scoring, or defence for that matter, but Quinn is likely to adore these guys and roll them more than some of his other fourth lines from the past. Now Jacques is brittle, we all know that, and thus my comment about us seeing Ryan Stone. The two aren't interchangeable but both come with really lousy attitudes they don't like the opposition much. I am saying 10,10,10 and that may be a bit optomistic but probably not a lot (Jacques, Brule and Stone all have some offensive upside.)

5. We all know that we are cursed by the injury gods. So the support players will get ice time. Most likely that will be Stone, Nilsson (cause we can't get rid of him), MacIntyre, and Reddox. I am saying as suppoprt players they get 15 goals in total.

6. I think Gilbert will get some of Visnovsky's ice time and vice versa. He is another fragile guy and backs can be tricky. He will also get the power play time because Visnovsky gets in Souray's way and of the remaining point men Gilbert is most likely to be able to score from the blue line, though Grebs is catching up with him.

7. I think Souray's time on ice will drop as will Visnovsky's. In Souray's case because he doesn't play well when he is tired and last year we road him hard and put him away wet too often. Also, Quinn being Quinn Souray will have the green light to throw body checks and to fight. Visnovsky will almost certainly be the 3,4 this year.

8. I think we will probably play at least eight and maybe nine defencemem before the season is over because a more active Souray is vulnerable, Visnovsky is reaching an age where he may become fragile, Gilbert's back is questionable, Grebs plays more aggressively each year, Staois is past his prime (great guy but past his prime), Strudwyck isn't a good fill in, and what I was saying was the three young men Grebs, Smid, and Gilbert will eat some of those extra minutes that Staois, Souray and Viznovsky surrender. So we will see Peckham for sure, and lord knows who else. As I said I am thinking Arsene...I did say I thought our defence was suspect, right?

9. On the other hand I think they will score 45 goals this year amongst the 8 or 9 of them. Anyone want to argue that one?

10. With nobody having break out years I get us scoring 270 goals.

11. However, I think we will give up at least 250 and maybe 260.

12. Does that make us a playoff team? I think it puts us on the bubble. However, it does also make us better than last year, a lot better, and way more fun to watch.

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#35 d.visscher
August 02 2009, 02:48PM
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Derek Truman wrote:

Ah who cares, we havent changed at all from last season (minus a few things) we still have the same players/size problems that were supposed to be addressed as per Tambellini that hasnt been. Instead of trying to pick up another point producing winger, and a good 3rd line centerman (like tambellini said he wanted) we are going with the same lineup cause he wont make the decisions to trade/bury some of those stupid contracts in the minors. No grit, no scoring, no faceoff specialist, prepare to watch the same garbage as last year. Brutal, im disappointed in this team

It is plain and simple as you said, you addressed everything the oilers need to do but have not do anything, unless you give points for trying to get a 50 goal scoring cry baby.

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#36 Darren
August 02 2009, 02:51PM
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PaperDesigner wrote:

Why not move Gagner to the right wing for now instead? After all, Gagner isn’t that much better in the dot. If only one of those kids is taking draws, that might improve the overall face-off performance of this team if they only have one line that’s a free space on the bingo card in the circle, instead of two. Good point, PaperDesigner...I don't know who should remain at center and who should go to the wing, but I like the idea of having only one of those centers taking draws. I think it will help our faceoff percentage overall, besides when one gets kicked out there will always be an experienced center to take that draw, as well. LMAO at this whole thread! R.B., you are a killer! (Did you score a bunch of lunch money when you were a kid?) Linnaeus, I may not agree with a lot of what you wrote but I do appreciate the work you put into it. Hey, it gives us something to read during the duldrums of summer. Along with other things I just want to add that there is no guarantee that because they're kids that they're going to get better. Otherwise those Oilers teams from the 90's would have been world-beaters, too. ;) Great story, and thanks for the read...
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#37 ronaldo
August 02 2009, 02:51PM
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13.Want to buy this great set of steak knives, they're great because I said so.

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#38 linnaeus
August 02 2009, 02:52PM
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As for my rose coloured glasses.

I think we will be a scoring juggernaut and possibly the worst defensive team in the NHL.

I think Cogs will have a break out year as he becomes mister everything and we thank our lucky stars we didn't trade him.

Yes, other teams get better but truthfully no team came close to matching us in underperforming last year so no team has anywhere near the room to improve as much with the same guys.

They have to make trades, we just needs to drag our heads out of our, well you know what I was going to say.

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#39 reijo29
August 02 2009, 02:59PM
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Just watched a Cog/Gags 7 Minute highlight reel to get a better idea of where he scores from. Saw 16 of his goals over the past 2 years. 4 goals from left side of net 8 goals from in front of net 4 goals from right side of net Seems fairly normal for a center, however, on closer inspection all 4 of his goals from the left side were from the goal mouth and 6 of the 8 from center were from just in front of the net. The only place that he actually scored shooting was twice from the right side and twice from between the dots. Everything else was basically a tap in.

The only things that this information really showed me is that he is obviously best suited/most comfortable at Center and that if he was a winger the right side/off hand is likely the only realistic option.

Just thought I would throw it out there and answer my own question (for the most part).

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#40 Darren
August 02 2009, 02:59PM
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@ ronaldo:

Where can I buy some? They sound great.

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#41 charlie
August 02 2009, 03:05PM
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Remember how well it worked when Cole tried playing left wing? Cogs is a centre, so I hope he plays centre. Trying to convert him to another position may work, or it may waste a season of a blue chipper leading up to RFA.

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#42 typol99
August 02 2009, 03:26PM
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I bleed oil...always have always will... But im prepared for the same ol story battling for the final spot in the west..this year tho will be different as our coaching staff will perpell us into that spot by winning those games in march which we have failed to do in recent memory.

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#43 Archaeologuy
August 02 2009, 04:09PM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

Who was this that scored 20 goals FOR THE OILERS last year? Scoring is not the problem, this is a poor argument from you Arch, usually you have stronger points.

Ales Kotalik finished the season with 20 goals, at the pace he was scoring goals with the Oilers he would have been on pace for 30 goals over 82 games. So in a manner of speaking the Oilers lost a 30 goal scorer from the roster that finished the season. No, scoring wasnt a major problem last year, but losing scorers without replacing them with anything certaintly doesnt help the team out. No one gets better by losing talent.

It's true the Oilers woes were largely defensive and special teams related, but that doesnt mean that the offense can afford to drop off.

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#44 Wanye Gretz
August 02 2009, 04:09PM
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Epic Brownlee smackdown on a Saturday afternoon.

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#45 Archaeologuy
August 02 2009, 04:19PM
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@ linnaeus: You have a very rosy view for next season. I have a comment for almost every point you made, but like learning how to play the Piano or running a Marathon it just seems like too much work.

Here's all I have to say regarding the whole thing.

I hope you're right. I sincerely hope you're right.

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#46 Racki
August 02 2009, 04:20PM
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Keep the Horpensky line together until something better comes along. It's been our best line, despite MacTavish's bashing of Penner.

For line 2, I'd put O'Sullivan Gagner and Cogliano together. Gagner would be at C just based on the fact that he is expected to be the future of the franchise. Might as well give him the opportunity. As far as who goes left, who goes to right.. well that's all comfort there.

That line is a bit small though (as was always the complaint) and will likely get kicked around a bit, but I think with experience, these guys will overcome that eventually.

So that pretty much leaves Nilsson on the outs, and obsolete. Don't see how he fits in next year (although I do like him and think he can have a better year).

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#47 Dallas
August 02 2009, 04:27PM
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Alot of good posts guys keep it up and I'm with you Arch there's always hope

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#48 Hemmertime
August 02 2009, 04:41PM
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Puttin'OnTheFoil wrote:

What does PDP stand for?

Poor Dustin Penner.

Whipping boy acronym.

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#49 Dallas
August 02 2009, 05:07PM
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What do you guys think of mps if he has another bad year in the Swedish mens league would you like to see him come play in the WHL? Or what if he is mediocre to excellent there would you leave him there or try him here? I am really excited about this kid cause he has size and skill.

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#50 Archaeologuy
August 02 2009, 05:12PM
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@ Dallas: I think it will be a lot more about how much money he can get in Europe compared to the AHL unless he has a guaranteed roster spot on the big club.

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