Andrew Cogliano and Asset Management

Jonathan Willis
July 19 2011 11:35PM

Earlier today, the Anaheim Ducks signed Andrew Cogliano to a three-year contract worth $2.39 million per season. Lowetide’s take on it is here, and he makes a quick comment on the Oilogosphere in the piece:

As an aside, if Steve Tambellini had signed this contract, I suspect Oiler Nation would be rushing to the internet to express their displeasure at the signing.

I think that deserves comment.

First off, I think it’s worth comparing the Cogliano contract to a couple of others. Ideally, these contracts would be to restricted free agent forwards, the players would be about the same age, and ideally they’d be signed this summer. Fortunately, we have two such examples to look at: Blake Wheeler and Michael Frolik.

  • Blake Wheeler: Two years, $2.55 million cap hit
  • Andrew Cogliano: Three years, $2.39 million cap hit
  • Michael Frolik: Three years, $2.33 million cap hit

How do those players compare, given that their age, status and contract situations are all similar?

Cogliano scored 45 points as a rookie, and recorded 18 goals each of his first two seasons – thanks to a shooting percentage more than twice as high as he’s recorded in either of the last two seasons (where he’s scored 10 and 11 goals respectively). The question is whether his first two seasons or the last two seasons better represent his NHL ability; given the fact that recent results deserve more weight and that Cogliano’s shooting percentage was insanely good the first two years, I’d bet on the latter. If that’s the case, than while Cogliano’s game has come along, offensively he’s not likely to be a game-breaker. Over the last two seasons, he’s scored 1.39 and 1.33 points for every 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play.

Blake Wheeler, on the other hand, has scored 18, 18 and 21 goals over the last three years. His goal-scoring the last two years hasn’t been attributable to shooting percentage, and while he’s played a somewhat similar role to Cogliano on the depth chart (i.e. complementary forward) he’s been a far better scorer, topping the 2.00 points per 60 mark two of the last three seasons (including 2010-11, where he managed 2.20 points per 60).

Michael Frolik is far and away the most complete player of the three. He’s recorded between 38 and 45 points over the last three years. In two of the last three years, he’s topped the 20-goal plateau; last year he finished with 11 goals thanks to a massive drop in shooting percentage (an 8.4% career shooter, Frolik scored at just a 4.4% clip last season). He played on a tough minutes line with Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton as a sophomore, and saw an unusual amount of quality opponents with Weiss as a rookie. He recorded 1.73 points per 60 last season, and while he’s not the scorer that Wheeler is, he’s better than Cogliano.

In short: Anaheim probably overpaid for Cogliano, relative to the market. Other restricted free agents in the same age range but with a better track record got almost identical dollars and terms, and while Cogliano might grow into the contract he probably isn’t there yet.

The dollar figure on Cogliano’s new contract makes Steve Tambellini look better for trading him. We might present it as a choice, one between Eric Belanger and a second round pick as well as roughly $700,000 in savings, or Andrew Cogliano. Given that Belanger’s the better player, cheaper, was available at no cost other than money, and most importantly fits team needs better, that’s a great choice.

Even so, on a rebuilding team, it may not have been an easy one to make. Trading Cogliano is a risk; he’s young, has scored in the past, has blazing speed and rarely left anyone questioning his effort level. He’s also been exceptionally durable.

Personally, I think it’s a smart risk. The Oilers have, in the past, been reluctant to sever ties with far worse players than Cogliano. Steve Tambellini made a smart choice here, and given that I’d be criticizing the signing (had he made it), it’s only fair that I acknowledge his strong asset management in this instance.

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#101 French Toast Mafia
July 20 2011, 01:55PM
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VanFan1 wrote:

YOU RESIDE IN EDMONTON!!!

SNAP!

I WIN!

Excellent point there nucks fan

The SNAP! (capital letters always win) definately won me over

I now see that because I dont live in Vancouver myself and my hockey team are extremely inferior to all the people that live there.

I also now see that every other hockey team in the league is inferior to the Canucks. Putting up that presidents trophy banner before the playoffs proved that to be 100% true....

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#102 dawgbone
July 20 2011, 01:56PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Have a look at their cap right now. If RNH makes the team they will be at 60 mill

That still leaves plenty of cap room + bonuses.

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#103 Dman09
July 20 2011, 02:01PM
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@dawgbone

4 mil left, there is no way they would go right to the cap. they are still looking and willing to trade for a top dman and will need that space to make sure they can make a move should something come along. Also there is no point being that close to the cap if your not aiming for the playoffs.

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#104 dawgbone
July 20 2011, 02:09PM
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Dman09 wrote:

VV in his short stint in the NHL had a 52.8 face percentage. Cogs wasn't near that. Yes it is a small sample size but still a reason to be optimistic. Also the role on the team is everything. Vancouver vs Boston is a good comparision of this. The most talented line in the league did nothing in the stanley cup finals. And the role players took the games over.

By your reasoning you would put out a team full of Gagners and try to play them against a heavy forechecking team like boston. They would get torn apart even though they have more of what you consider talent.

Face-offs are just one very small part of the game. Unless of course you want to argue that Malholtra is a better player than Sedin because he has a 62% face-off percentage while Sedin is nowhere near that.

Vancouver vs Boston is a comparison of what happens when one goaltender plays lights out and the other one struggles. A .967 save percentage hides a lot of team flaws.

And my reasoning never mentioned the word talented. I said better players. And out of this hypothetical 5 gagners vs 5 bruins, which team gets Tim Thomas?

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#105 dawgbone
July 20 2011, 02:17PM
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Dman09 wrote:

4 mil left, there is no way they would go right to the cap. they are still looking and willing to trade for a top dman and will need that space to make sure they can make a move should something come along. Also there is no point being that close to the cap if your not aiming for the playoffs.

I'm assuming that a trade for a top dman is also going to include roster players, so that will eat up some of the cap hit.

And aiming for the playoffs is exactly what this team should have been doing. There were/are still plenty of good veteran players out there who could make this team significantly better.

They took half the steps necessary to solidify their lineup (acquired Smyth & Belanger), but then made a bunch of other strange moves that don't make them a better hockey team (Eager, Hordichuk, Sutton, Barker).

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#106 Dman09
July 20 2011, 02:19PM
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dawgbone wrote:

Face-offs are just one very small part of the game. Unless of course you want to argue that Malholtra is a better player than Sedin because he has a 62% face-off percentage while Sedin is nowhere near that.

Vancouver vs Boston is a comparison of what happens when one goaltender plays lights out and the other one struggles. A .967 save percentage hides a lot of team flaws.

And my reasoning never mentioned the word talented. I said better players. And out of this hypothetical 5 gagners vs 5 bruins, which team gets Tim Thomas?

Wouldn't matter the gagners can't play good defensive hockey even if you have Bulin in net for both i would still bet money on 5 bruins. Also part of thomas's success in net was the bruins defensive play. They blocked a lot of shots, cleared the shooting lanes for thomas, kept a lot to the outside and limited the allowed shots from in close. Thomas even said it him self the team did a good job of making sure he could see the puck to make the stops and clearing rebounds.

Faceoffs is a small thing that can be very important. Winning faceoffs increases your puck possession time, the more time you have with the puck the more likely you are to have shots on goal and/or clear the zone to limit shots for the other team. Its all the little things together that make a winning team

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#107 Dman09
July 20 2011, 02:29PM
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dawgbone wrote:

I'm assuming that a trade for a top dman is also going to include roster players, so that will eat up some of the cap hit.

And aiming for the playoffs is exactly what this team should have been doing. There were/are still plenty of good veteran players out there who could make this team significantly better.

They took half the steps necessary to solidify their lineup (acquired Smyth & Belanger), but then made a bunch of other strange moves that don't make them a better hockey team (Eager, Hordichuk, Sutton, Barker).

They aren't looking for a 1 hit wonder, thats why they are taking their time getting lots of good young players and making sure the additions they commit and a lot of money to are going to be the right fit for the long term of the team.

I would also disagree about Eager. I think he does make the team a fair bit better and will make them more competitive. He has a lot of talent but also bring the emotion and physical aspects to the game. Thats exactly what the Oilers have been missing. Hordi is just backup for when we meet up with other teams who employ guys like big Mac. If Sutton returns to form that he was a couple seasons ago he will make the team a lot better. Barker is a wild card with no real risk behind him. He may develope into a very good top4. You just never know.

As far as cap, likely move would be a salary around the 2 mill mark and a prospect and they would be looking at a guy making close to 7. A team likely to make a trade like this will probably be looking to dump some salary. The only exception is if they decide to trade hemsky. Nobody else with a big contract is moveable.

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#108 dawgbone
July 20 2011, 02:41PM
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Dman09 wrote:

They aren't looking for a 1 hit wonder, thats why they are taking their time getting lots of good young players and making sure the additions they commit and a lot of money to are going to be the right fit for the long term of the team.

I would also disagree about Eager. I think he does make the team a fair bit better and will make them more competitive. He has a lot of talent but also bring the emotion and physical aspects to the game. Thats exactly what the Oilers have been missing. Hordi is just backup for when we meet up with other teams who employ guys like big Mac. If Sutton returns to form that he was a couple seasons ago he will make the team a lot better. Barker is a wild card with no real risk behind him. He may develope into a very good top4. You just never know.

As far as cap, likely move would be a salary around the 2 mill mark and a prospect and they would be looking at a guy making close to 7. A team likely to make a trade like this will probably be looking to dump some salary. The only exception is if they decide to trade hemsky. Nobody else with a big contract is moveable.

Is Hordichuk, Sutton or Smyth long term additions to the team? More long term than a 25 year old the team has already spent 4 years developing?

In terms of Eager, Sutton and Hordichuck:

1. Hordichuk needs to face another goon and based on last year and Smac, he will dress for 30 or so games and occupy a roster spot and a 700k cap hit.

2. Eager is definitely an upgrade on Jacques (most people with a pulse are), but I don't think he improves this team in any real significant way. He'll still be an 8-10 minute per night player who doesn't kill penalties.

3. Sutton isn't 32 anymore. He's got age and injuries going against him. It's like expecting Smyth to be 2005-06 Smyth. It's probably not going to happen.

In terms of the trade for a d-man, there's 1 NHL defenceman who makes $7mil/season (Brian Campbell). There's 8 who make $6mil or more.

Chances are that it's not going to be one of those guys that the Oilers acquire (if they acquire one at all).

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#110 Dman09
July 20 2011, 02:57PM
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dawgbone wrote:

Is Hordichuk, Sutton or Smyth long term additions to the team? More long term than a 25 year old the team has already spent 4 years developing?

In terms of Eager, Sutton and Hordichuck:

1. Hordichuk needs to face another goon and based on last year and Smac, he will dress for 30 or so games and occupy a roster spot and a 700k cap hit.

2. Eager is definitely an upgrade on Jacques (most people with a pulse are), but I don't think he improves this team in any real significant way. He'll still be an 8-10 minute per night player who doesn't kill penalties.

3. Sutton isn't 32 anymore. He's got age and injuries going against him. It's like expecting Smyth to be 2005-06 Smyth. It's probably not going to happen.

In terms of the trade for a d-man, there's 1 NHL defenceman who makes $7mil/season (Brian Campbell). There's 8 who make $6mil or more.

Chances are that it's not going to be one of those guys that the Oilers acquire (if they acquire one at all).

I think you underestimate how much leadership and energy can an entire team and Eager brings that. And true we wouldn't be looking at Brain Campbell but we would be looking for a Drew Doughty, or Shea Weber which are both likely to be 6.5 mill plus.

You right Sutton isn't 32 to anymore but he also isn't 45. Last year the second best defenseman was Lidstrom 41 so it not like its impossible to see Sutton put up 15 points and be a good defensive D. After all thats all he was back then.

And to finish off its not always about making sure every player on your team is a long term solution. You need a good mix of Vets and young guys the same as you need offesive stars, tweeners and role players.

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#111 Dman09
July 20 2011, 03:11PM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

Maybe I wasn't clear. I live in Greater Van now - and have so for a year. After 6 months it gets old... actually it sucks.

Avg 70% of peoples earnings go to owning a home?

HST vs 5% taxes?

Pay for Health Care?

Higher food costs?

Wait in line for everything (including traffic.)

You ignore the crap weather comment?

Your team is 0 for 41.

A city of egos and "what's in it for me"?

(I'll stop now... but I could go on... if you want me to)

Isn't the avg. house cost there close to $500,000?

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#112 Mantastic
July 20 2011, 03:18PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Isn't the avg. house cost there close to $500,000?

i hope you understand what kind of house 500k buys you in the GVA...

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#113 Dman09
July 20 2011, 03:29PM
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Mantastic wrote:

i hope you understand what kind of house 500k buys you in the GVA...

Probably not a whole hell of a lot. I believe someone was saying that GVA is the most expensive in North America, not counting major mansions or course, and niagra falls NY was the cheapest. 4 bedroom house for like $60,000

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#114 Chris.
July 20 2011, 03:31PM
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@VanFan1

Let me get this straight: Sedins is plural? There are TWO of them?

Weird.

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#115 Dman09
July 20 2011, 03:42PM
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Mantastic wrote:

3 bedroom, 80+ year old detached house in the middle of van will run you 700k+

that is insane. How much would someone rent that out for a month?

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#116 Mantastic
July 20 2011, 03:56PM
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@Dman09

i honestly have no clue but i have seen ones outside of vancouver (white rock) being rents out for 2300-2700 a month

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#117 Chris.
July 20 2011, 03:57PM
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@Jonathan Willis

My take on Cogliano: his days in Edmonton were numbered ever since the kid line was disbanded and Gagner was moved to center. (As evidenced by the failed Heatley deal)

The real shame: two years ago Cogliano would have probably commanded more than a second round pick.

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#118 Dman09
July 20 2011, 04:19PM
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@Wäx Män Riley

CHI walked away from Campoli, he is now a free agent. Anyone think the Oil should go after him?

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#119 Wäx Män Riley
July 20 2011, 04:22PM
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Campoli? Nope. Not me. I don't see him fitting in at all. At 49 contracts, the only guy that fits in is a top-4 D man, and I don't think Campoli is it.

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#120 Devilgretzky66699
July 20 2011, 06:50PM
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@Chris.

I wonder how/if his goal/points numbers will bounce back with a notably better team...? Of course, I still think the move was for the best...but I think it will be the "bestest" for Cogs. It might not be a complete coincidence that his offensive production dipped to the new lower plateau during the years whilst the oil were locking down 30th & icing the type of D & goal staff that required everyone from Moss to Tambo to focus on the "defensive aspect of their game". I'll split the diff & predict that Cogs gets 15 goals next year and 20 the following.

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#121 gongshow
July 20 2011, 08:32PM
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You can pretty much assume that Cogs will add at least 4 goals* to his yearly total moving forward.

*# of time Edm/Ana face-off each season. (Hell, SMac is probably good for one when he's here)

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#122 dawgbone
July 21 2011, 07:43AM
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Ender wrote:

I'm usually pretty good with the CBA, but I admit that this has me stumped so I'm asking all the smart people out there to help me with this one.

My understanding of the Arbitration process for RFA's goes something like this:

General Manager: You want how much? You're dreaming. Guess again. Lower.

Player: I'm worth every penny and more. See you in arbitration.

Arbitrator: This player is worth the value of pi multiplied by the surface area of the ocean on a windy night. If you need a second calculation we can factor in his shot totals and the number of albums Janis Joplin sold in 1968.

General Manager: You're all crazy. If I want this kind of abuse, I can go home to my wife. Have fun in free agency, Kid. Get your locker cleaned out by 5:00 today and don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

Player: So, I'm worth that much, huh? OK, I'll just wait for the phone to ring now . . . . . I'm sure it won't take long . . . . . yep . . . . . . any time now . . . . . . anybody?

The thing is, I don't see why the 'Hawks would agree to pay Campoli $2.5M for nothing. Why can't they just let the arbitrator assign a value and then walk away from it?

They didn't pay him $2.5 mil. The Hawks told Campoli that they were going to walk away from any arbitration award so in order to expedite the process, both teams agreed to have the hearing early and agreed on a 2.5 mil arbitration award.

Once that award was given out, the Hawks were free to walk away from it and it allowed Campoli to become a UFA a little earlier.

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#123 Archaeologuy
July 21 2011, 08:00AM
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http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2011/07/21/memo-to-oilers-powerplay-shooooot/

I dont want to hear anyone else say that fans who yell "SHOOOT" dont know what they're talking about. Apparently they know better than the Oilers.

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#124 Ender
July 21 2011, 08:59AM
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dawgbone wrote:

They didn't pay him $2.5 mil. The Hawks told Campoli that they were going to walk away from any arbitration award so in order to expedite the process, both teams agreed to have the hearing early and agreed on a 2.5 mil arbitration award.

Once that award was given out, the Hawks were free to walk away from it and it allowed Campoli to become a UFA a little earlier.

Alright, that makes a lot more sense. After hearing someone else agree with me on the process and re-reading TSN's story, it comes down to TSN not being completely clear. Yes there was a $2.5M 'settlement' awarded to Campoli, but no, he didn't actually get any money.

In some ways, it's too bad the truth is so tame. If Chi-Town was really handing out million-dollar awards that they didn't need to, I'd have liked a piece of that.

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#125 Ari Gold
July 21 2011, 04:11PM
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Why are there so many Nucks fans here? Don't you have your own site?

I'm originally from Edmonton, lived in Montreal and am now in Van. I can honestly tell you that Van isn't all it's cracked up to be. Compare it to Seattle, Calgary or Edmonton and yes, it seem's like a pretty novel place. Honestly though, it's far from the best city in Canada, let alone the world. Grow up Vancity and do some travelling before beaking off.

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#126 Ari Gold
July 21 2011, 04:17PM
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Van Fan 2012 wrote:

Ya!! Canucks are the best! We have the best players in the league! Luongo is better than Crosby and Ovechkin put together. Woooooo!!

*I swear, this is not Wäx Män Riley

I've already had my fill of laughing at you from this most recent season. Trust me, it'll be even sweeter next year when you get knocked out, again, in the first round. I really hope it's by Chi too.

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