Andrew Cogliano and Asset Management

Jonathan Willis
July 19 2011 11:35PM

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.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 Oilcruzer
July 20 2011, 03:02PM
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VanFan1 wrote:

Ya non-affordable to people from Edmonton. Ya there is traffic, because many people want to move here, so ya traffic will occur and there's things to do here... on that note...how is your mall?? still around? I thought they would have torn it down to build another dingy factory. People flock to Vancouver cuz we da best!

Maybe I wasn't clear. I live in Greater Van now - and have so for a year. After 6 months it gets old... actually it sucks.

Avg 70% of peoples earnings go to owning a home?

HST vs 5% taxes?

Pay for Health Care?

Higher food costs?

Wait in line for everything (including traffic.)

You ignore the crap weather comment?

Your team is 0 for 41.

A city of egos and "what's in it for me"?

(I'll stop now... but I could go on... if you want me to)

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#102 Dman09
July 20 2011, 03:11PM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

Maybe I wasn't clear. I live in Greater Van now - and have so for a year. After 6 months it gets old... actually it sucks.

Avg 70% of peoples earnings go to owning a home?

HST vs 5% taxes?

Pay for Health Care?

Higher food costs?

Wait in line for everything (including traffic.)

You ignore the crap weather comment?

Your team is 0 for 41.

A city of egos and "what's in it for me"?

(I'll stop now... but I could go on... if you want me to)

Isn't the avg. house cost there close to $500,000?

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#103 dawgbone
July 20 2011, 03:15PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Wouldn't matter the gagners can't play good defensive hockey even if you have Bulin in net for both i would still bet money on 5 bruins. Also part of thomas's success in net was the bruins defensive play. They blocked a lot of shots, cleared the shooting lanes for thomas, kept a lot to the outside and limited the allowed shots from in close. Thomas even said it him self the team did a good job of making sure he could see the puck to make the stops and clearing rebounds.

Faceoffs is a small thing that can be very important. Winning faceoffs increases your puck possession time, the more time you have with the puck the more likely you are to have shots on goal and/or clear the zone to limit shots for the other team. Its all the little things together that make a winning team

I'd take a trio of Gagners over Thornton - Campbell - Paille every day of the week. In fact that's the type of matchups a coach who is trying to win a game would look for with a trio of young players.

Yes, part of Thomas's success was that the Bruins played well in front of him, but he put up a .967 sv% in the finals, which is pretty remarkable. In terms of "dangerous" shots (shots from the prime scoring area), the Bruins won the battle 109-104 over the course of the 7 game series. That's not much of an advantage and doesn't separate these teams nearly as much as the respective goaltenders save % does.

Face-offs have their place, but the fact of the matter is they have very little outcome on the game. 7 of the top 16 face-off teams didn't make the playoffs last year, so the correlation between face-offs and winning is marginal at best. Now, that being said if there was an in-zone face-off with 5 seconds left in a 1 goal game, you'd want your best guy taking it... but that's situation specific and doesn't take into account the rest of the game.

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#104 Mantastic
July 20 2011, 03:18PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Isn't the avg. house cost there close to $500,000?

i hope you understand what kind of house 500k buys you in the GVA...

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#105 dawgbone
July 20 2011, 03:18PM
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So VanFan1, what you are saying is Vancouver can't hold a candle to Toronto.

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#106 Dman09
July 20 2011, 03:29PM
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Mantastic wrote:

i hope you understand what kind of house 500k buys you in the GVA...

Probably not a whole hell of a lot. I believe someone was saying that GVA is the most expensive in North America, not counting major mansions or course, and niagra falls NY was the cheapest. 4 bedroom house for like $60,000

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#107 Chris.
July 20 2011, 03:31PM
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@VanFan1

Let me get this straight: Sedins is plural? There are TWO of them?

Weird.

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#108 Mantastic
July 20 2011, 03:34PM
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@Dman09

3 bedroom, 80+ year old detached house in the middle of van will run you 700k+

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#109 Chris.
July 20 2011, 03:41PM
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Guys, VanFan1 has probably never been to Edmonton... So his observations about our city are about as relevent as the last 40 years of Canuck hockey.

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#110 Dman09
July 20 2011, 03:42PM
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Mantastic wrote:

3 bedroom, 80+ year old detached house in the middle of van will run you 700k+

that is insane. How much would someone rent that out for a month?

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#111 Mantastic
July 20 2011, 03:56PM
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@Dman09

i honestly have no clue but i have seen ones outside of vancouver (white rock) being rents out for 2300-2700 a month

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#112 Chris.
July 20 2011, 03:57PM
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@Jonathan Willis

My take on Cogliano: his days in Edmonton were numbered ever since the kid line was disbanded and Gagner was moved to center. (As evidenced by the failed Heatley deal)

The real shame: two years ago Cogliano would have probably commanded more than a second round pick.

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#113 Wax Man Riley
July 20 2011, 04:09PM
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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?

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#114 Dman09
July 20 2011, 04:19PM
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@Wax Man Riley

CHI walked away from Campoli, he is now a free agent. Anyone think the Oil should go after him?

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#115 Van Fan 2012
July 20 2011, 04:20PM
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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

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#116 French Toast Mafia
July 20 2011, 04:20PM
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He "won" with capital letters and exclamation points so he's out

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#117 French Toast Mafia
July 20 2011, 04:21PM
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And after mentioning Quicksilvers mom

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#118 Wax Man Riley
July 20 2011, 04:22PM
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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.

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#119 Ender
July 20 2011, 06:25PM
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Dman09 wrote:

CHI walked away from Campoli, he is now a free agent. Anyone think the Oil should go after him?

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?

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#120 Devilgretzky66699
July 20 2011, 06:50PM
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@Chris.

I wonder how/if his goal/points numbers will bounce back with a notably better team...? Of course, I still think the move was for the best...but I think it will be the "bestest" for Cogs. It might not be a complete coincidence that his offensive production dipped to the new lower plateau during the years whilst the oil were locking down 30th & icing the type of D & goal staff that required everyone from Moss to Tambo to focus on the "defensive aspect of their game". I'll split the diff & predict that Cogs gets 15 goals next year and 20 the following.

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#121 gongshow
July 20 2011, 08:32PM
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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)

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#122 dawgbone
July 21 2011, 07:43AM
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Ender wrote:

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?

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.

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#123 Archaeologuy
July 21 2011, 08:00AM
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http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2011/07/21/memo-to-oilers-powerplay-shooooot/

I dont want to hear anyone else say that fans who yell "SHOOOT" dont know what they're talking about. Apparently they know better than the Oilers.

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#124 Ender
July 21 2011, 08:59AM
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dawgbone wrote:

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.

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.

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#125 LoweBlow
July 21 2011, 04:11PM
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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.

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#126 LoweBlow
July 21 2011, 04:17PM
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Van Fan 2012 wrote:

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

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.

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