Marchant with Hands

Earlier this week we talked about "comparables."   This is the second installment, devoted to Andrew Cogliano. We’re looking for smallish, fleet centermen with offensive ability from the past (and perhaps late developing ability on the southside of the puck) in order to see how this might turn out. We’re look through the black and whites to see the future. 

The best player I ever saw skate for the Leafs was Dave Keon. If you look at his stats and never saw him play it might be a mystery. Dave Keon was an amazing skater, and because of it was a splendid forechecker and an out-of-this-world penalty killer. On April 13, 1963 Dave Keon became the first player to score two shorthanded goals in a playoff game. Keon had an amazing backhand and could pass and make a pass on the fly with stunning consistency. He was, in many ways, the perfect player.

I always loved to watch Keon penalty kill. He was so fast and read plays so well that teams often had a terrible time getting out of their own end. Keon was also textbook when it came to bodychecking. A small player (even for his era), Keon completed his checks and made certain that his mark was not an available option for those very important seconds after a pass. I remember seeing him do that to both defenders on the penalty kill and still being able to get back in time to make plays in his own zone. He was a beauty.

When I saw Andrew Cogliano for the first time, it reminded me of Keon and Butch Goring and what my father told me about Ralph Backstrom (I remember Backstrom but not at his peak). Undersized centermen with speed to burn and enough offense to deliver 20+ goals a season. However, their ability to play a strong 2-way game and penalty kill the other team’s best to a standstill made them vital to their teams. Extremely valuable players.

What I’ve seen from Andrew Cogliano since he arrived in the NHL is a player who seems to be running in place with regard to the finer points of the game (specifically away from the puck). So, despite his wonderful interviews of late that indicate the "light" is on in regard to his 2-way role, we must also look at a "one dimensional" types as well. There are tons over the decades, here are 4 examples:

  • Wayne Dillon: Talented mid-70’s center started well but lost his offense in year three and faded from the NHL. First round pick in 1975. 441 NHL/WHA games.
  • Bobby Sheehan: There are precious few undersized C who score at Cogliano’s rate and have long NHL careers. Sheehan was a bullet–as fast as Courneyer–and had a nice pro career that included a year plus a little with the WHA Oilers. 551 NHL/WHA games.
  • Nigel Dawes: A solid offensive winger who has developed into a useful talent. Has played for 3 NHL teams in two seasons and needs to improve play without the puck. A strong comp for Cogs should he not develop 2-way ability. 199 NHL games and counting.
  • Dean McAmmond: Speed burner who has developed over the years into a reliable 2-way player. His 186 goals over 17 NHL seasons include just one 20-goal season but ten seasons with totals between 10 and 19. He’s not great, but he’s consistent. 996 NHL games.

Between 1990 and 2004, there were 75 forwards who performed between .43 and .49 per game in their first three NHL seasons (Cogliano was .451). They range from Radim Vrbata to Maxim Afinogenov, and there are names like Dixon Ward, Bill Muckalt and Rob Pearson. There ARE solid NHL players, but they all brought size or could check a little or a lot. In other words, the players who hit for the same average as Cogliano during their first three seasons could be divided into two groups: offense-first players who didn’t deliver enough offense to clearly establish themselves, and became journeymen; and the second group which included Powerforwards like Bertuzzi and 2-way players like Dvorak. Cogliano needs another pitch, and it sounds like he’s reached that conclusion heading into this fall’s training camp.

We can agree that Ethan Moreau wasn’t helping a season ago and it is also true that Cogliano has paid in full for that season with a 1-year, $1M contract. Listening to Bob Stauffer’s show today it is very obvious the young man has matured and is willing to take on roles that will give him more playing time and make him more important to the overall success of the team. That could be the most important development for Cogliano since he arrived in Edmonton.

Andrew Cogliano has the kind of speed that won’t slump on the forecheck, or the penalty kill, or any situation that requires putting pressure on the opposing player. Add the fact that he does deliver offense (Cogliano’s NHL totals per 82gp: 15-22-37; that’s solid offense, although shy of Sam Gagner’s 16-32-48). This could be a brand new day, although the comparables I’ve mentioned in the past for Cogs  no longer seem reachable.

Remember that comment making the rounds after Cogliano was drafted? "Marchant with hands?" Or what about Red Berenson, who said "he’s kind of a cross between Todd Marchant and Dave Keon. A great skater, a tireless worker and a player who has a knack around the net and has good hands."

The fact is that Andrew Cogliano could have an extremely productive career without being "Marchant with Hands." The Oilers would welcome "Marchant full stop" from Andrew Cogliano beginning this fall. He certainly has many of the raw skills required to play the style that brought so much success to Marchant. I guess the question is how much of that 2-way and faceoff ability can be learned and how much can’t be taught. I expect we’re about to find out.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans



    Yeah, how many people fell in love with the guy after he scored his 3rd GWG in a row? I will never forget that moment, the look on my dads face and the look on Cogs’ and Gagners’ face. Ever.

  • Gilmore Tuttle

    Felch! As opposed to fisting – and with no gerbil.

    One of the funniest things I have ever heard!

    @mxke – I think one on the right is that Kate chick with 8 kids.

  • Cogliano has the ability to be one hell of a third line centerman who can skate fast, create offensive chances, backcheck, forecheck, penalty kill, etc.
    Third lines just aren’t used as defensive shutdown lines anymore. They are needed to provide offense as well as sound defense. Cogliano, if he gets his priorities straight and his ego in check, could be a tremendous asset for the Oilers this season.

  • Cogliano doesn’t need to become a shut down defensive center. He needs to just stop being a liability and he actually has to produce some offense with whoever he plays with. I know he had some boat anchors as line mates last year But he’s got to figure it out. If he’s going to play on a line with guys like stortini you still have produce goals more than once every 20 games.

      • Lowetide

        Hi Tyler,

        I looked at Ronning and have him as a possible comp after this season. Ronning wasn’t an NHL regular until age 23 but tracked as an exceptional offensive player in junior (197 points in the WHL at age 19), which would be outside Cogliano’s implied offense.

        Also, Ronning was a ridiculous talent in that he got up from so many crushing hits. Seriously. I’d be hesitant to compare most undersized players to Ronning for those two reasons: he was silly good (and should have been in the NHL before 23) and he had exceptional ability to take a hit and stay (relatively) healthy.

  • bdiddy78

    I told a friend the other day that we would be blessed if Cogs could develop into another Marchant.

    Him: But better!!!

    Me: Don’t be greedy!

    Re: Diane Lane: Best face/rack combo in a 45 year old woman that I am aware of. Please let me know of any other candidates for the title if you disagree.

    • Re:Diane………………; I can’t think of one. Once I looked at the combo, I could’t think of anything else.

      Re:Cogs…………………; Good signing for both parties. I can see Cogliano becoming a solid top 6 forward this year for the Oilers. I really can’t see him playing as a 3rd line center, that is Horcoff position and it is set in hands of stone. ;’)

  • Everone drinks the kool-aid that is the media in this city. The biggest one demensional player on this team is Gagner. The only reason he does not get called out on this is because of his connections. His dad and his old teammates. His has always been a liability and the media will not acknowledge it due to the hype, which will translate to the rest of the fan base. People in this city have a tough time being critical thinkers. More or less sheep!

    • a lg dubl dubl

      Maybe YOU good sir should stop drinkin the Kool-aid. How can you say Gagner is a one dimentional player? sure he was a -8 in +/- but on the team they had last year im suprised he wasnt a -100. Sam IMO was pretty good on the pk,pp, and 5on5 and only gunna get better as his career moves forward, if he isnt a plus player by the end of the year ill be suprised. Besides how can you slag a guy who started on the 4th line and busted his ass all the way to the 1st line by years end that to me seems like a good 2 way player to me.

  • Cogliano is a poor man’s Stephen Weiss.

    Good speed, 5’10″/185lbs

    In 06-07 Weiss @23yrs GP74 G20 A28 48pt -1

    It took 5 years for Weiss to “find his game”..

    Cogliano started better but if he’s near Weiss @ 24,25,26 that’s his high end for production.

  • Jerk Store

    Some funny posts … Some funny ha ha … Some funny peculiar.

    Epic “face / rack ” comment from bdiddy. Look forward to those comps in a future lowetide article … A friend of mine used to rate his date’s appearance in terms of NFL teams. A Cincinatti Bengal for example had a “great uniform / bad helmet” where as a TB Bucanner had “great helmet / bad uni” … And so on. Gregor would definitely call Ms Lane a Miami Dolphin.

    Now onto Pedro. The word asinine comes to mind ….
    Wait my Blackberry is ringing …. Ah it’s that damn Dave Gagner again calling me to be nice to his kid. Gotta go.

  • Some guys have the aptitude and desire to become a good defensive forward, some guys just don’t.

    As long as people want to force that shoe onto Cogliano they’re going to be disappointed.

    Seems to me that Cogliano’s speed is a greater asset on offense, and the real issue on him becoming even a marginal defensive player is that he accepts that as a way to stay in an NHL lineup.

    I hope Renney gives him the same chance to show his attacking skills that Quinn gave Penner last year.

  • Milli

    We should all be really happy if he is Marchantish this season. That isn’t a bad guy to be compared to, how many good years did he have in the league? Could be wrong, but I do beleive that he has a ring as well….

    • ubermiguel

      Yup, with the 07 Ducks. 1000+ GP too. Not bad for a guy that “couldn’t put a puck in the ocean”. There are worse players to be compared to.

      RE: 45 year olds…Halle Berry’s 44 so Ms Lane can keep that honour for one more year.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Wanye can we have a moron button next to the props? Pedro’s comment deserves a moron +1.

    EDIT: I try not to critique other posters posts unless it is just ridiculous, because afterall it’s just opinion. I do respect someone’s opinion but posts like that deserve an “I think that” in front of it.

  • On the note of 45+ year olds, I’ll nominate Jennifer Tilly. She’s a not sophisticated like Lane or the other girls some mentioned.. but damn, what a rack! (lol) Plus she’s actually 52 now and looks 30 something still. Strange voice, and always plays a ditz, but damn… I could watch any movie with her in it, no matter what it is. 😛

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Gawd bless your obsession with Diane Lane LT …check out her mother Colleen Farrington as October 1957 Playmate of the Month at the link above…a standout hottie …for the 50s’

    comping Cogs to Keon? i think not…just can’t see it … we both saw Keon fly … but he was tough as nails too…13 isn’t…Keon went to TheHall first ballot ’86…Cogliano won’t…if he can come out of his ‘fog’ this year we’ll see who he really is but… i look for him on the block with new found faceoff skills at the trade dealine w/44…maybe before.

    FYI did you hear Mark Seidel of NA Central Scouting talk on the inaugural Saturday morning PipeLine Show about how Kevin Lowe was told, called and pressured by hockey insiders NOT give up his #4 to Taylor Hall? Seidel eluded to the fact that Taylor Hall wasn’t the standup guy we all think he is? That the off ice Taylor Hall is a spot light grabber? It was surreal to hear…any thought? I was kinda jaw dropped when I listened.

    • FYI did you hear Mark Seidel of NA Central Scouting talk on the inaugural Saturday morning PipeLine Show about how Kevin Lowe was told, called and pressured by hockey insiders NOT give up his #4 to Taylor Hall? Seidel eluded to the fact that Taylor Hall wasn’t the standup guy we all think he is? That the off ice Taylor Hall is a spot light grabber? It was surreal to hear…any thought? I was kinda jaw dropped when I listened.

      That is not the first time that has been insinuated… why so surprised?

      • …never heard it insinuated. so we know he’s not a standup kid? so we know that the other kid woulda been a better pick? Huh?

        what else have i missed ?

        the insider pressure stuff’s true as well?

        • Now lets be clear, I was already in favour of the Oilers drafting the Centreman that scored more goals than Hall on a worse team. I also have not heard the pipeline show in question.

          That said, Hall not being a stand-up guy (at 18yrs old) wouldnt make Seguin a better pick. Some of the best athletes in the world are douchebags. That’s just a fact. Imagine a type “A” personality jock being told he’s the best for his entire life. That’s a perfect storm for douchebaggery. It doesnt mean he wont be the best, it just means that he’s more likely to hit on your wife than help an old lady cross the street. That’s all.

          • yes sir but…I still hadn’t EVER heard derogatory things said about either until this a.m. when Seidel, who’s the same guy that gushed about both of them BEFORE the draft, decides to say this now.
            Through all the hype filled months leading up to the draft not a word or reference to either of them being readied for “a perfect storm for douchebaggery”

            for the Record… U know Gretz was not a dB

            so why now? Stauffer memo to AceToo: get Mark Seidel. he needs to ‘splain who the ‘insiders’ are in his statement on the PipeLine show…Kevin Lowe should attend too yes? IMO Seidel needs a dressing down! i’d also like to read or hear the insinuation about TH prior to this…possibly like who insinuated it? where? print or radio? cuz i never heard anything …ok i’m old, might NOT hear everything… and the Kevin being told NOT to give #4 up? HuH? Clearly we need clearer heads to figure this out. mind hurts
            … LT ?

        • I don’t KNOW any of this to be true. All I’m saying is thats not the first time I’ve heard things like that insinuated. And like Arch says, that doesn’t mean he’ll be a bad player. The Hall/Seguin debate is far from over (hell, its just beginning), but now is not the time to rehash it. Maybe Hall is a db. Maybe he’ll grow up & grow out of it. To me, the people around him from this point on (teammates, coaches, etc) could very well have a positive impact on him moving on.

          But, if I had to guess, I’d say that 1 of the two (Hall/Seguin) may be more likely to play his whole career with 1 team, and 1 of the 2 may be more likely to ask for a db, Heatley-esque, Pronger-esque trade out of town. JMO 😉

  • Lowetide

    re: Hall and attitude. Frankly, I’d like some attitude on this team. You know, the old timey Oilers had more than their share of jackholes and outlaws.

    I don’t care that Hall has a chip on his shoulder. If he puts in the work then its all good.

    Honestly, this team could use some swagger. Kick out the jams (bad word here, don’t blame me its the MC5’s fault) mother-ers.

    • ~What? The 80’s Oilers was full of arrogance… ERR, attitude? They had “more than their share of jackholes and outlaws? News to me~

      Perhaps that may have had something to do with the hatred toward the Oil that was bred into me since the greatest April 7th of all-time (1980).


      Serious note… this team needed/needs some jackholes & outlaws, thats fersure

  • Wanyes bastard child

    Much has been said about Diane Lane and I’ll add one more thought/suggestion: If you want to see how hot she was in her early 20s, rent the movie, The Outsiders sometime. It was made around 1983 and is based on the book we all had to read in junior high (I think kids still read it today).

    Anyway, Diane Lane played Cherry Valance and she was smokin’ back then.

    Also – who’s the woman on the left?

    • Wanyes bastard child

      Outsiders is a great movie and book. If you liked that you should check out Rumble Fish. Directed by Coppola as well and also based on an S.E Hinton novel. Stars Matt Dillon, Diane Lane, Mickey Rourke and a very young Nicholas Cage in one of his first roles. Really trippy dark movie.

      Diane Lane looks her finest as Rusty James’ girlfriend.

      Nice pics LT! I diggity.

  • not old enough to remember Keon, but I remember Goring and how tough those Islander teams were to beat for the upstart Oilers of the early 80’s. And that is a great player for Cogs to take after. Good positioning makes the rest of the game so much easier. He should not have to rely on his speed to get back into good defensive position. Anticipate the play, be in good position early. If you can steal the puck, then you still have your legs to turn the puck up the ice very quickly and create a chance of your own. Make other teams fear passing it up the middle.

  • Lowetide

    My vote will go to the vivacious Salma Hayek. Dianne Lane has that. “Sweetie mom thing who will rock your world if given the chance look.”
    But Salma Hayek could just stare my way and I’m pretty sure I’d be done, plus she has the sexiest broken English in the world. Cogliano hasn’t really taken his game to the next level, his passing skills are sublime but that scoring touch he used to enjoy is slowly fading. I remember when Todd Marchant would get 40-50 breakaways in a season and when it was him almost nobody in the building got excited. He would get in by himself crap his pants and shoot the puck at the wall and go back to the bench.

    Cogliano needs to find that niche in his game, three years ago. Him Gagner and Nilsson were the new fancy sportscars racing the streets of Edmonton, now Nilsson is gone and the only one of the three of them who’s progressing is Gagner. I think Cogliano should reinvent his game to that of a Kris Draper or Dan Cleary, great speed clutch goals and responsible. Unlike Marchant when Cogs gets in deep on his own I have faith that he might be able to deliver. Whereas with Marchant when he got in on his own it might as well have been a blind man walking into the women’s shower at a Victoria’s Secret fashion show.