Like most of the 2009-10 edition of the Edmonton Oilers, Andrew Cogliano resoundingly under-achieved.
Yesterday, that on-ice disappointment translated into an off-ice kick in the pants for the fourth-year centre, as he put pen to a $1M, one-year contact with the copper and blue. The contract shaves more than $100K from the Toronto Ont. native’s annual salary, and clearly articulates the cause-reward scenario facing many NHLers these days, including those in Edmonton, as GMs across the league are seemingly attempting to live within their means.
Cogliano’s situation, however, is somewhat perplexing, especially when compared with another recent signing by the Oilers – and Cogliano’s roommate – Sam Gagner.
Oilers GM Steve Tambellini recently announced they had reached a two-year, $2.275M per deal with Gagner, also a centre, entering his fourth year with the team, a whopping $600K increase for a player who scored 41 points in each of the last two years. Focusing strictly on goals, however, Cogliano has actually turned on the red light with more frequency than his roomie, potting 46 goals, two more than Gagner.
Last season, Cogliano’s contributions dipped to 10 goals over a full 82-game scheduled, with Gags pitching in 15 in 68 games (injuries caught up to the latter late in the season).
So what gives? Perhaps the contract is simply a result of shrewd negotiations on behalf of a GM attempting to send a message throughout the league that the bank is now closed in the NHL’s most northern outpost. Raises to salary are no longer an expectation, but rather something that must be earned with on-ice results.
Another possibility is Tambellini has successfully signed a key third-line asset to a salary with minimal cap impact, thus giving the Oilers immediate trade options for this player, and possibly a package deal to clear the team’s ledger of the more hefty coin of, say, one Sheldon Souray ($5.4M per cap).
At $1M, however, Cogliano’s value in Oiler’ silks actually increases with this contract, providing the impetus for the player to prove he belongs here, and deserving of a raise next year.
Cogliano has spent much of his summer working on parts of his game, including his play in the face-off circle, looking to nail down a spot at centre, his natural position throughout junior, where he’s met with some success in the NHL. What’s this – accountability and leadership in Oilerville?
If Cogliano expects head coach Tom Renney to keep him at centre he will have to demonstrate dominance on the dot, something he’s failed to do to date.
Hockey is in the air here once again, as Oiler rookies, including the team’s number-one overall draft pick Taylor Hall, took their physicals today, in preparation for the rookie tourney to be held in beautiful Penticton, B.C. beginning Sunday, against the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.
In the meantime Oiler fans, chins up…sticks down.
About the Author
Written by Scott Pattison
Scott is an award-winning sports writer whose career spans more than 20 years. He's proudly covered the Oilers since moving to the Alberta capital in 2000.