Andrew Cogliano: Money talks

SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 7: Andrew Cogliano #13 of the Edmonton Oilers skates prior to the game against the Florida Panthers on December 7, 2009 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Oilers defeated the Panthers 3-2 in a shoot out. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Andrew Cogliano came into the NHL alongside Sam Gagner, but after three seasons toiling for the Edmonton Oilers, there’s going to be a lot more separation between these teammates and friends — at least when they look at their pay cheques.

While Gagner, 21, just inked a two-year deal with the Oilers worth $4.55 million, Cogliano and agent Anton Thun are slogging through contract talks and it looks from where I sit like they’re going to get squeezed on the numbers by GM Steve Tambellini.

When I look at Cogliano, then taking into account what Gagner and Gilbert Brule got for contracts (Brule got $1.85 per season over two years), I see a player who probably deserves $1.5 million a season for a two-year term.

My best guess, and that of Oilers Lunch host Bob Stauffer, is we’re more likely to hear an announcement about a one-year contract, with dollars in the range of $1.25 million, in coming days.

I hope Sam will at least buy the pizza on boys night out.


So, what makes Gagner, who made $875,00 in salary last season, one in which he scored 15-26-41 in 68 games to give him career totals of 44-7-131 in 223 games, a good deal at his price point, at least to hear pundits tell it, when the contract was announced?

And how is it Cogliano, who struggled under Pat Quinn and scored just 10-18-28 in 82 games to give him 46-65-11 in 246 games, has to grind it out to get a one-year package from Tambellini?

For me, the answer is perception as much as performance, at least to this point. Gagner’s seen as a young player on the rise and somebody who, given what the roster should look like, will be a second-line centre, at worst. What’s Sam supposed to get this season, 55, 60 points?

Cogliano? Where does he fit, exactly? Quinn never figured it out. Now, it’s up to Tom Renney. Cogliano has been on shaky ground since the Oilers tried to package him with Dustin Penner and Ladislav Smid for Dany Heatley. He has yet to recover. What’s his future, and where?


Here and now, I don’t think Gagner is worth a million bucks a year more than Cogliano, but apparently the Oilers do (unless I’m way off on what Cogliano signs for), and that’s all that really matters.

While I’m certain Gagner will get every opportunity to blossom in terms of linemates and power-play time, I don’t know where Cogliano fits into the plans and I won’t have any real grasp on it until I talk to Renney.

It’s setting up, to look at the cards and hear a lot of people tell it, like this is the season Gagner leaves Cogliano in the dust in terms of production and prominence. A lot of people believe he’ll cover the contract. Consider me not so sure.

Eighty-two games from now when the fourth season is in the books for Gagner and Cogliano, we can all look at the boxcar numbers and at the digits on their pay cheques. We’ll see who is the better bargain.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Lock up Cogs long term at discount price while opportunity is available ! Madjam’s forte : Outside the box of statistics and more into human aspects , motivation and team setting and fitting in . Brule finally turned the corner last season . Gags looks to have matured this season and Cogs lagging just ever so slightly behind , but improving rapidly !

    Cogs would be a huge bargain if they could lock him up for $2M/ season over a 4-5 year contract . Little risk – high reward on my scale . Rapidly moving upward on my maturing ,human and people skill scale .

    Seeing as i won’t be here to bug you in next few weeks here’s what i’d like you to look for as camp opens . Watch for the human qualities of the players , that of which their are no accurate stats for . See how mature they are at team skills , and how they read and compiment the play, and support their comrades . The skill is already high , it’s the human aspects that sets this young group much higher than a lot of you i believe are missing and not seeing .

    Our other rookies ( Eberle , Omark , Svensson and Eberle ) are high up and already fast trackng on the human and people skill levels giving us a very unique situation here this season to breed much optimism . Their levels are all very high coming into this season , the highest i’ve seen since the last dynasty .

    They will thrive if team and individual goals are set high ,for they need that challenge in which to help them excel at the rapid rate they already are on . It’s not unlike the corporate setting of emerging and flexible new corporate incentives . Example : Give me a 40 hour workweek and the flexibility to do it in my own time . Guaranteed- you almost always figure a way to do in 20 hours and up production , accuracy above standard stats , and productivity as well . All i’d have to do in supervisory is allow you the setting, motivation and support to help you accomplish your goals .

    Look people you can have many skills , but if you have only average to low people skills you won’t ever max out your individual or team potential . I believe our younsters have it so watch for it right out of camp .

    • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

      I think you are on to something here actually. Now I am bias being an Oiler fan but these core young guys seem to be character guys, possessing the intangibles beyond the statistics.

      I just don’t get the same vibe listening to Cogliano (not that he is not character guy but not to the degree I sense with the others)

      Well, the outer bands of TS Earl are starting to hit here in southeastern NB, eerie dark gray skies, rain and wind starting, woohoo, bring it on Earl buddy.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Not really fair to critique Cogliano’s face off percentage because Gagner and Brule are both pretty bad. Wonder if we could hire Adam Oates to work with these 3 guys through training camp to improve on this necessary skill set?

  • PabstBR55

    I will be embarrassed for the Oilers if Cogs out-performs Gags in the long run. One picked 22nd, one picked 6th overall? That should be night and day in terms of pedigree. Now, if they are both performing well for their contracts, well, isn’t that what management should always do with contract assignment? That should just be par for the course for an executive worth his salt.

    • PabstBR55

      I don’t see Cogliano out-performing Gagner in terms of offensive production straight up, but I don’t foresee as much separation between the two of them as some people do, based on what I’ve seen so far.

      Like I said in the item, I’m waiting to see if Gagner will be worth a $1 million more than Cogliano this coming season.