It was announced Tuesday July 12th that Edmonton Oilers' first round pick Andrew Cogliano has been traded to the Anaheim Ducks. Cogliano was selected 25th overall in the 2005 NHL entry draft and in return the Oilers will receive the Ducks' second round pick in the 2013 draft.
Cogliano has not missed a game in his career due to injury despite lost teeth and mouth cysts incurred in the past season. Some have argued that Cogs should be (or should have been) moved to the wing due to his poor performance on the dot, but I have always argued that he is not the only Oiler who suffers in that regard.
In addition to a drastic increase in the number of injuries to the speedy, small centreman, Cogliano attempted to re-invent himself as a penalty kill specialist to ensure he had a role in the re-building Oilers team. Although in the end it is clear that the Oilers saw the team taking a different route, the Ducks must have seen the value in the often-available player.
Cogliano had filed for salary arbitration this summer and was scheduled for July 21st. Speculation had Cogliano being awarded approximately $1.5 to $2.1 million per year. Had the Oilers decided that they didn't see the value at that price tag, Cogliano would have been a UFA, free to sign with any team of his choosing. This situation was made more interesting because it looks as though the Oilers will have a bit of a log jam at centre this year if Anton Lander and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins prove that they are deserving of roster spots straight out of training camp.
It didn't take long for Cogliano to become one of my favourite Oilers, even while he was still a prospect. I admired his work ethic, that he didn't seem to complain as the lines were shuffled or as his minutes decreased. Instead, Cogliano persevered and worked on other aspects of his game to make himself more valuable.
Cogliano will join fellow ex-Oilers Kurtis Foster, Jean-Francois Jacques and Jeff Deslauriers on the Anaheim Ducks. There is some question about whether or not Cogliano will be moved to the wing, or whether the team will continue to work with the 24 year-old at centre. One would think that this decision wouldn't be made until after training camp, or perhaps even after the pre-season. It would be easy to expect some line-shuffling and a few linemate experiements before Cogliano finds his new place. Of course this is all dependent upon Cogliano agreeing to contract terms with the Ducks, but an agreement in that regard seems overwhelmingly likely.
A second round draft pick does not help to make this team better or more competitive now and the team has lost another NHL player. There is still a lot of hope for the prospects that are ready to make the league and the team, this year or next, but does this move help the Oilers get better this season? Maybe, if the Oilers can now use their now open 50th contract spot to, say, sign another NHL goalie. We all know that this is a dream that Scott dreams, and who among us can't dream that. Another point that Scott made to our Copper and Blue family discussion is that the second round pick of the 2013 draft would likely not make the team until the 2015-16 season at the very earliest, and that seems to be the biggest point of contention that fans may have with the return.
It is true that the Oilers found themselves in an unfavorable situation with Cogliano looking for an arbitration settlement and a raise, and a plethora of attractive prospects looking for spots on the team (including a first overall draft pick at centre), but I have to add that I was truly disappointed with the headline on the Oilers' pipeline email, the method I discovered that one of my favourites had been traded: "Oilers acquire second-round draft pick" doesn't seem like a fitting goodbye to the man who played 328 consecutive games for the Oilers.
With a trade to a western team, like Bruce and his beloved Zorg, I will at least have the benefit of seeing Cogs play the Oilers four times a year. I won't lie to you, should Cogliano be the next unexpected ex-Oiler to score a hat-trick against his old team I won't complain (well not too much or too loudly).
I wish Cogliano luck in his new role with his new team across the street from the "happiest place on earth" and hope that for him, that phrase will ring true.