Another Approach To Projecting Andrew Cogliano

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.

  • Hippy

    @ Chris:
    There is no reason to believe Cogliano cant increase his shots in a season. You have no basis for that argument. It is logical to assume Cogliano cant achieve a 30% shooting percentage. It is NOT logical to claim he cant shoot more. He played on a 3rd line that started without the puck 63% of the time and he didnt get much PP time. Changing any of the variables in that equation, which have nothing to do with his quality of play, will increase his shots on net.

    Cogliano does not have to be like Perry in order to shoot the puck 200 times in a season. Perry doesnt own the patent to shooting the puck. There are all kinds of players in the league who manage to pull the trigger 200 times in a season. 2.5 shots a game isnt exactly that hard to achieve. That's why your arguments dont work. Richards was able to increase his shots, Perry was able to increase his shots, but Cogliano cant? That isnt an argument, its BS. No one said Cogliano would PLAY like Richards or Perry, his PRODUCTION could be like Richards or Perry. You have given no good reason that is backed up by logic that he cant.

  • Hippy

    @ Chris:

    Taking Richards specifically: Richards also had 8 PP goals to Cogs 4 with 1:30 more PP time per game.

    Give Cogs an extra 90 seconds on the PP every game, what's that get him? 40 extra shots

    Richards also plays an extra 200 seconds more 5 on 5… can Cogs handle an extra 100 seconds??? Probalby, Gagner played 13:24 5 on 5.

    So we say Cogs is just to weak and frail to handle another three and a half 5 on 5 min/game… so we'll only bump him up to the Gagner's level… giving him an extra 93 seconds per game or 127 min 5 on 5 min. What's that get him? 20 extra shots/year?

    60 extra shots 15% shooting % 9 extra goals. 27 goals per year with average top 6 min.

  • Hippy

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    @ Chris:
    There is no reason to believe Cogliano cant increase his shots in a season. You have no basis for that argument. It is logical to assume Cogliano cant achieve a 30% shooting percentage. It is NOT logical to claim he cant shoot more. He played on a 3rd line that started without the puck 63% of the time and he didnt get much PP time. Changing any of the variables in that equation, which have nothing to do with his quality of play, will increase his shots on net.
    Cogliano does not have to be like Perry in order to shoot the puck 200 times in a season. Perry doesnt own the patent to shooting the puck. There are all kinds of players in the league who manage to pull the trigger 200 times in a season. 2.5 shots a game isnt exactly that hard to achieve. That’s why your arguments dont work. Richards was able to increase his shots, Perry was able to increase his shots, but Cogliano cant? That isnt an argument, its BS. No one said Cogliano would PLAY like Richards or Perry, his PRODUCTION could be like Richards or Perry. You have given no good reason that is backed up by logic that he cant.

    Hemsky, a guy most Oil fans argue doesn't shoot near enough took more the 2.5 shots per game.

    In fact, on avg. 3 and 3/4 guys per team average 2.5+ shots/game.

  • Hippy

    Tambellini has some really tough choices if he intends to make the new Oilers team bigger, tougher to play against, have puck control capability and be contenders, not pretenders. A team that has balance between grit and skill. There are no elite players on this team, perhaps close are Roloson, Souray and Hemsky, but that is all. He has some additional keepers (Gagne, Visnowsky, Smid, Grebeshkov, Peckham, Pisani). He also has some assets (Gilbert, Cogliano, O'Sullivan, Eberle) that have trade value. The status of UFAs Roloson and Kotalik is unknown at this time. And then there are those players that are questionable as to being NHL calibre (Moreau, Staois, Nilsson, Jacques, Reddox, Brodziak, Pouliot, Stortini, DeLaurier, and McIntyre). Unfortunately, Tambellini inherited too many player contracts and toxic contracts that are immovable (Penner, Horcoff). Needs at least a first and fourth centre, good special team players, one more good face-off man and RH D. There doesn't appear to be any NHL-ready talent on the farm? What a mess.

  • Hippy

    DonDon wrote:

    Tambellini has some really tough choices if he intends to make the new Oilers team bigger, tougher to play against, have puck control capability and be contenders, not pretenders. A team that has balance between grit and skill. There are no elite players on this team, perhaps close are Roloson, Souray and Hemsky, but that is all. He has some additional keepers (Gagne, Visnowsky, Smid, Grebeshkov, Peckham, Pisani). He also has some assets (Gilbert, Cogliano, O’Sullivan, Eberle) that have trade value. The status of UFAs Roloson and Kotalik is unknown at this time. And then there are those players that are questionable as to being NHL calibre (Moreau, Staois, Nilsson, Jacques, Reddox, Brodziak, Pouliot, Stortini, DeLaurier, and McIntyre). Unfortunately, Tambellini inherited too many player contracts and toxic contracts that are immovable (Penner, Horcoff). Needs at least a first and fourth centre, good special team players, one more good face-off man and RH D. There doesn’t appear to be any NHL-ready talent on the farm? What a mess.

    Or it could be a bubble team with lots of assets that are (should be) still improving… as they move up the ranks, so will the team.

  • Hippy

    @ Archaeologuy:

    Okay. Forget the names Perry and Richards. That is the purpose of these lists: to create emotion.

    Coglino is a .55 point/GM second year player, who plays around 12 minutes a night and took 116 shots last season. These are very reasonable numbers. Coglino is a good player. What are your expectations for him moving forward? If you expect Coglino to develop into a point/ game guy in the next two seasons… I suspect you will be disappointed… Although, I admit, it's not like I have a crystal ball.

    My fear is that Coglino's shooting percentage is more likely to decrease rather than increase over time. Many others like Brownlee, and Gregor share this concern. I have heard both of them comment on Coglino's seemingly unsustainable shooting percentage before. *If I'm mistaken guys… Please feel free to weigh in* In any case, if Coglino were to evolve into a point per game guy he would have to take almost twice as many shots. Simple math. We both agree on this. Problem is, Coglino already plays 12 minutes a night. I just don't see him playing twice as many minutes for the Oilers, or finding another way to double his shot output, while maintaining his shooting percentage.

    The most likely scenario, is that Coglino will continue to grow and mature; play more minutes; and see modest point total increase. His shooting percentage which has already declined from 18.4% his first year, (when he took 98 shots), to 15.5% his second year (116 shots); will likely continue to drop off a bit more as his shot total increases. I can't prove this… but that is the trend. Based on trending alone: If Coglino were to play 15-16 minutes a night next season and was able to double his previous increses in shots taken to around 150 while maintaining a 14% shooting percentage the math says he will score 21 goals. Add say a generaous 30 assits and you have a .62 point/GM guy… And I would be very happy with that. (Projects above most of that list)

    This is what I call a cautious brand of enthusiasm. I'm not trying to be a killjoy.

  • Hippy

    @ Chris:
    I see your point, but i dont think he needs to double his minutes to double his shots. The situations he has played in have kept his numbers down and he will naturally become stronger. He might not ever become a point per game, but no one on the club was a point per game, so he doesnt have to reach that number before he produces "well". I dont expect him to become Joe Thornton, but he CAN be a very good player for the Oilers for the next 5-6 years before Free Agency.

  • Hippy

    Chris wrote:

    by increasing his shot total. This is the only way Coglino’s numbers will signifigantly go up. By taking more shots. So we leave the rehlm of stats and enter the rehlm of scouting.

    I have my own reasons to be conservative in my estimation of Cogliano's future shot total increases… It's to do with scoutig the player. *Disclaimer: I'm the first to admit I'm not a professional scout.* Coglino uses his speed to generate much of his offence on the rush…You can't just decide to rush more. Plus I don't buy into the notion that a shots per game ratio would track up in a straight line by simply playing more minutes… (Fatigue aside)

    Also with more minutes and better linemates comes tougher opposition. Again I'm tired of repeating this: Coglino is a good player. I like him. His point totals will increase. Let's all just be a little more cautious and realistic with our expectations moving forward.

  • Hippy

    @ Chris:
    No one said he would be Sidney Crosby. I also cant help but think that he would be much more effective offensively on any line which started with the puck more often (ie higher faceoff percentage). Yes the majority of his points were generated by his speed, but what was the other option? Give it to Moreau who will dipsy doodle past 3 guys then wait for Pisani to set him up in the slot? I cant get those guys to do that in video games. I think realistically he can score at least 25 goals in a second line role next year, assuming he gets the PP time.

  • Hippy

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    I think realistically he can score at least 25 goals in a second line role next year, assuming he gets the PP time.

    I think you're expecting too much. To play on the second line Cogliano would most likely have to adapt to playing back on the wing. That would probably have a negative effect on his totals. Even if he could play second line center; to score 25 goals Coglino would have to:
    a)Maintain his current shooting percentage.
    b)Increase his shot total by 70% with only a few extra minutes of ice time a night.

  • Hippy

    160 shots is all he needs to score 25, based on this year's Shooting %, which is only an increase of 40% not 70%.

    I think you're underestimating the difference quality of teammates and ice time makes.

    However, I will admit that switching from Centre to Wing might be his biggest hurdle next season.

  • Hippy

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    I think you’re underestimating the difference quality of teammates and ice time makes.

    My math was wrong regarding the 70%. I do agree Cogliano needs at LEAST 160 shots to score 25 goals. To go from 98 shots, to 116 shots, to 160 shots seems like a dramatic increase. Also having higher quality linemates, means Cogliano would skate against higher quality opposition… Don't underestimate the difference THAT makes.

    Cheers.

  • Hippy

    A few random players:

    Zajac shots/game went

    1.7
    1.9
    2.3

    Parise

    3
    3.3
    4.5

    M Koivu

    2
    2.5
    3

    M Richards

    2.2
    2.9
    3

    Hemsky

    1.9
    2.5
    2.6

    Over the last 3 years.

    It seems pretty clear that as guys roles expand, theirs a pretty good chance that they will take more shots…. sure some probably don't, but to place that, of all things, as the big hurdle to his success??