Andrew Cogliano and Asset Management

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.

    • Reggie

      Nothing more annoying that a cherry picking fan of another team who can’t even spell a player’s name right.

      Damnit it’s GAGNER !

      Not the Sundin twins or Loongo or Kezler or Beksa.

    • Remember that time your team won the president’s trophy and raised the banner before the season ended? Remember when they then lost in the finals because your albatross goalie cant hack the pressure? Remember?

      I do.

      • We still have the best 3 forwards in the league and a top 5 goalie. You have… hope?? You hope that things will turn around, you hope all the young players pan out to be everything you all desperatly need them to become. While we’re gonna win the presidents trophy again and make another strong push in the playoffs, and this time Kesler will win the Art Ross, you will watch your team finish last and have another lottery pick.

          • Greg Stink | ESPN

            C’mon, you’re better than than. I’m an Oilers fan in Vancouver and there is no reason to bring that into it. It’s unnecessary.

            Anyone who is familiar with what happened knows that that riot would have happened win or lose. It had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. Just a group of people taking advantage of the situation, followed by the whole crowd joining in like idiots.

          • John Chambers

            Ya we had debris and scorch marks after the riot… but your city looks like Beirut, Lebanon compared to Vancouver. And your hockey team is Midget AA compared to ours.. Truth hurts doesn’t it?

          • Not really. This team really has been terrible for years. If that hurts anybody’s feeling then they really have drank too much Kool-Aid.

            At least you have that Western Conference Championship banner to look at. Come to think of it, we got ourselves one of those not too long ago either. The only difference is that nobody HERE thinks that’s an accomplishment worth celebrating.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            ….but the plaintiff claims to have nailed my mom. I’m so confused, i just don’t know who to believe anymore.

            [Places Dan Hill, Sometimes when we Touch back in the 8 track player]

          • O.C.

            Or rioting over.

            I’ve lived here a year now. The (my) predictions held true about Van.

            Playoffs.
            “When the going gets tough, the Sedins dive, turtle, and whine.”

            Playoffs wean out officials in training. The quality officials will punish hockey teams that try to cheat dive. I.E. Don’t embarrass an official, in any sport. Not only won’t you get the dive, you won’t get a legit call either.

            Holy cow, did VanFan1 really say his team has one, (let alone three) players who are better than Datsyuk, or Crosby, or Ovy, or Lidstrom, or Thomas?

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Sorry to interupt your discussion VanFan.

            I was interested in those 4 Louis Vuitton handbags you had for sale on Kijiji, by any chance are they still available?

        • John Chambers

          My cousins live on the island and are huge Canuck fans. They were pretty excited in September that this was the year. I agreed. Everything was aligning for this to be Vancouver’s year.

          A lot of your guys had career years. Luongo was Vezina calibre during the regular season, you have an Art Ross trophy, and everything seemed to roll along favourably for you.

          But you guys chocked. Hard. As hard as anyone has choked in the post-lockout NHL. Next year and beyond, most of your guys won’t have career years like they just did. It’s unlikely that you’ll have as easy a time walking through Chicago and San Jose next year, not to mention dealing with the up-and-coming LA.

          I think your opportunity came and passed. In a couple of years we’ll have our shot. But enjoy your President’s trophy and Western Conference Championship because it’s all you’ve got to show for it.*

          *Not to mention piles of shattered glass and fans of legendary ill-repute.

  • @ dawgbone:

    I see what you’re saying, but the issue here is that I don’t think it’s clear that Cogliano was willing to play on the wing. Gregor’s made that comment a couple of times, and without knowledge to the contrary I tend to take his word for it.

    At centre, I prefer the current trio (10, 89 and Belanger) to Cogliano and suspect that in terms of fourth line performance relative to dollars spent the team is better off with Lander than Cogliano. And all that assumes RNH doesn’t make the team, which he might.

    • Does his willingness to play on the wing matter? Tell him he’s a winger and throw him out on the wing every shift he takes.

      Performance to dollars matters, but when you are a sub cap team (by a significant amount), use the cap space and make your team better.

          • O.C.

            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.

          • Chris.

            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).

          • Chris.

            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.

          • Chris.

            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).

          • French Toast Mafia

            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.

  • Hands McDangles

    Add Teddy Purcell to the list with Wheeler and Frolik. Stevie Y just signed him for 2 years at less than what Cogs got.

    Who would you rather have out there? Cogs or Purcell?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    One thing that isn’t mentioned as much is the fact the the Ducks offered Cogs this money, this wasn’t an arbitration award. Have to believe in Andrews case (minutes played alone)he was going to get atleast what the Ducks offered. If it does go to arbitration, perhaps it costs Anaheim as much as a half a million per year more.

    Fine asset management, what a load of bunk. Where was this wisdom when 44 was being dealt with?

  • John Chambers

    Oooohhhh. Contest!

    A free sleeve of golf balls and a replica Smytty mullet for whoever comes up with the best VanFan1 burn.

    Here I go:

    Hey VanFan1, are all Canuck fans asexual eunuchs like the Green Guys, or do you pitch a tent when you have sweet dreams about the Sedin Sisters?

    Snap!

    • O.C.

      What u win? I see non-affordable housing. I see traffic hell. I see rain and plus 14 instead of a thing called summer. I see high insurance costs. I see high taxes.

      Some win.

    • French Toast Mafia

      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….

  • Smythies return has yet another undiscovered beneficial use: Holding up his number to a Canuck fan acts like a crucifix to a vampire. ’94, the other year where the Canucks choked in game 7!

    EDIT: …..SNAP!

  • 9 Inches Uncut

    Hope Canuck fans enjoyed the confetti shower in the west final because that’s as close to a celebration as they’re gonna get.

    That was the year for the Canucks. It’s downhill from here on in.

  • Wax Man Riley

    I love trolling with Van Fans!

    Yes, it is a nice city, and yes they had a pretty good team this year. I also love their argument “your team sucks, Canucks are the best!”

    40 years without a cup can make you cheer for anything I guess.

    Where did he go though?

      • Ender

        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?

        • Ender

          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.

          • Ender

            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.

  • French Toast Mafia

    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

    • Admiral Ackbar

      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.

  • Wax Man Riley

    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.

  • French Toast Mafia

    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)

  • Admiral Ackbar

    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.