Andrew Cogliano has crashed down the charts over the ~half-year since we last undertook this exercise. Ben dropped him four spots, Jon six, Bruce eight, Derek a staggering dozen from Top 10 to outside the Top 20. Only Scott has held fast in his belief system that this guy remains a real top notch prospect going forward, dropping him just one spot. What has caused most of us to run out of patience at once?
It seems that many of us have turned the page on Cogs from prospect to suspect, even as a veritable flood of new prospects has cascaded in to flush him away. In alphabetical order to protect state secrets, names like Dubnyk, Hamilton, Lander, Marincin, Martindale, Omark, Peckham, Petry, Plante have all displaced Cogliano down the page.
Yet Andrew Cogliano remains. At the still tender age of 23, he has played 292 NHL games, which is to say, 167 more than the combined totals of those nine wannabes that have passed him by. It's a lead-pipe cinch that he's already had more of a career than some of those young 'uns ever will, and there is no indication that he's about to stop piling up the GP.
Evaluating a four-year veteran like Cogs is not so much projection as it is analysis of his development curve. I had a bash at this last summer, looking at a range of advanced stats on a year-by-year basis. Let's revisit that in context of Andrew's performance through the first 45 games of 2010-11 (last night's Dallas game not included) to see if he's moving forward, in reverse, or just spinning his wheels in neutral.
Cogliano continues to be an iron man, having never missed an NHL game since turning pro 3½ seasons ago. He has endured an awful series of knocks during the current season, getting smashed in the face repeatedly during one nightmarish stretch of games. He has had one surgery on his lip and another awaits while he plays on.
Cogs has seen his even strength ice time rise by about 1:00/G each season, and this year his overall ice time has seen an additional bump since his installation as a regular on the penalty kill.
Cogliano's goal and point production is in the range of his ice time. There's a reason he's getting third line minutes. After 45 games he is exactly on pace to repeat last year's 10-18-28, suggesting that is his true level of production and those 18-goal seasons were anomalies.
Interesting stuff here. Using the metrics from Behind the Net, Cogs has seen a significant rise in his Quality of Competition, while his Quality of Teammate has dropped. I look a little askance at these numbers, however more than halfway through the current season they should be moderately reliable. His performance in Relative Corsi has gradually gotten further into the black, an encouraging sign, especially when considered in conjunction with the two "quality" metrics.
Andrew is on pace for just 108 shots, in the neighbourhood of his first two seasons. While his shooting percentage has improved from last year when he was taking more shots, it has not returned to those 15+ % levels that fuelled his early production.
All rate stats are ranked among Oiler forwards with 18+ GP in the complete seasons (16 in each case) or those with 10 GP in the current season (15). Cogliano's PDO has dropped every year, and each component has dropped every year but one, with a disturbing drop-off in Sv% in the current year. Since I have been reliably informed that shot quality doesn't exist, it would seem that his luck has just taken a turn for the worse. By eye he has been getting burned by the higher-quality competition he's been facing, who are turning his defensive mistakes into goals with depressing regularity. A large number of those mistakes come in the form of watching the puck and losing track of his man, an area of his game that has been painfully slow coming around.
Parsed on a per 60 basis, this confirms that Cogliano's production levels at even strength have stopped plummeting, but are a long way from turning around.
These arrows are pointing the wrong way, but are not out of line with the PDO-related numbers above. It seems the dice have been coming up snake-eyes more often this season.
Cogliano continues to raise his physical play, and is on pace for 102 hits in 2010-11. In part, but only in part, this is due to increased ice time. However, his penalties drawn/taken numbers have taken a disturbing flip. He is now the least effective Oiler forward at drawing penalties, which would be more puzzling if I hadn't personally observed numerous blown calls w.r.t. this player.
|Faceoff%||39.5%||rank||37.2%||very rank||43.0%||less rank||42.0%||still pretty rank|
Cogliano is gradually being given more responsibility in the defensive zone, and as a driver of play appears to be relatively neutral. His performance on the faceoff dot continues to suck (to use a technical term).
|Powerplay||( / 9 )||( / 9 )||( / 9)*||(/8)*|
Cogliano's powerplay ice time has been reduced each year, and now hovers just above half a minute per game. At present his plus per 60 ranks ahead of all eight Oiler forwards who average 1:00 or more on the PP. Given the ongoing terribleness of the powerplay, one wonders if Renney will ever give him another shot at this unit.
At last, an area of real progress. Cogliano has seen his PK ice time tripled, and he has responded by posting the team's best numbers in the chosen performance metrics. He was either lucky that his ice time took a major bump around the time the Oilers PK improved from execrable to merely brutal, OR his promotion was part of that turnaround.
Conclusions: Cogliano's durability is a major plus, especially on a team that struggles annually with injury woes. His production is roughly commensurate with the third-line minutes he has been receiving, and not out of line with his $1 MM cap hit. He continues to struggle mightily in the faceoff circle, a weakness which defines his game in the eyes of many. On the other hand, he is finally starting to make a significant contribution to one of the special teams, and remains an occasional option for the other.
While some might conclude that a regular player on a last-place team is by extension a last-place player, the fact remains that 23-year-olds with ~300 games of NHL experience are not that common. He was selected 25th in his draft class, and currently ranks 7th in that group in GP, with a strong possibility of being top 5 by season's end. There is no sign that this guy is dropping off the map in the style of Patrick O`Sullivan, and I would expect that he'll have another 300 or more NHL games in his future, whether here or elsewhere. His current ranking as the 16th best "prospect" in the Oilers' system is on the lowball end, as I would project him as a useful NHLer for several years to come.