Should We Feel Sorry For Andrew Cogliano or is This Just Business?

The draft was good for the Edmonton Oilers in many ways. They selected certain to be superstar Taylor Hall first overall, got a steal of a pick in Tyler Pitlick at #31 and moved out disgruntled center Riley Nash.

In other ways, whether you want to call it good or bad, Oilers fans also got a clear indication that GM Steve Tambellini is focused on a rebuild. Rumors were all over the place and media attention focused on the fact that Tambellini was pitching hard for Boston to move the 2nd overall pick.

As part of the offer, rumored names being sent by Edmonton included Ales Hemsky and Jordan Eberle. While I question the inclusion (or at least the logic) of Eberle as trade material, Tambellini's willingness to move the Oilers argueably best forward in Ales Hemsky tells us the Oilers organization is clearly focused on going young and getting the best possible prospects here and ready when the Oilers could contend in two or three years.

Unfortunately, one thing also clearly established this weekend was the desire to move Andrew Cogliano out of the Oilers organization. We may never know if that desire comes from a frustration at his lack of progress or simply where Cogliano fits on the Oilers depth chart, but this is now twice in the last two years Cogliano's name has come out quite publicly as trade bait.

The first time was during the Dany Heatley fiasco last season. Along with Dustin Penner and Ladislav Smid, Cogliano was headed to Ottawa before the trade was squashed by Heatley and his no trade clause. At the time, it was a bad situation for the Oilers, the city of Edmonton and for all three players.

On Friday, Cogliano came up publicly again, this time as trade for the Florida Panthers #15 overall pick in the 2010 draft. Tambellini has yet to confirm that Cogliano's name was mentioned or officially offered, but Tambellini did admit in a later statement that it was unfortunate Cogliano's name came out... again.

The question I'm pondering, is should we feel sorry for Andrew Cogliano or is this just business?

It's never fun to think that the team you're on doesn't want you. Whether as a player you're reading too much into the situation or you know for fact you're not wanted, publicly being mentioned in most, if not all of the trades you're team is involved in can't feel good. This is the current status of Andrew Cogliano.

Certainly, Andrew Cogliano offers a variety of skills to any NHL team. He's fast, he's young, he's on the upside of finding his potential as a professional hockey player and from what we've seen as Oilers fans, Cogliano is willing to re-define himself as a hockey player to fit into any role the team he's on requires. Those are attractive qualities for many NHL GM's.

But, Cogliano doesn't provide so much value that other teams will pay handsomely or even fair value for his services when his name becomes public knowledge in trade talks. Now that Cogliano is known league wide as a player the Oilers are shopping and accompanied by the fact that his last year as an Oiler came with decreased production under Pat Quinn, moving him (while I think will be accomplished) won't be easy nor for a fair return.

For all the wrong reasons, Cogliano is much like Sheldon Souray. Teams know the Oilers are somewhat eager to move him, thus the leverage is in the opposing teams court. Unlike Souray, and to Cogliano's credit, Cogliano has done all he could to be a team player, a good person and a fine Oiler. Souray on the other hand, has limited his value around the league thanks to his own stupidity. Same result -- two completely different paths to get to it.

If we use Tomas Kaberle as an example, we quickly can see what Andrew Cogliano isn't. Kaberle will have up to ten teams interested in his services. Because Kaberle has proven his worth as an NHL defenceman, when Brian Burke publicly throws out the release, "Kaberle is available" Kaberle will fetch multiple teams involved in a bidding war to land him. For Burke, actively and publicly shopping Kaberle makes sense. The end justfies the means.

Yet, no one feels sorry for Tomas Kaberle. This is two summers now that his name has been the focus of draft day and possibly the second summer he remains a Maple Leaf. So given the similar situation, why is it Kaberle gets one reaction and Cogliano another?

For Cogliano, the Oilers have tried to trade him twice -- both times unsuccessfully. The difference here is that Cogliano has no clauses in his contract that give him control, he has no bidding war for his services and he has no GM telling other GM's that he'll wait until the offer is right because his player is worth more to him than what's been offered thus far. Cogliano just has to sit and wait to see where he'll be playing.

This is the life of a professional NHL hockey player. If they (and hopefully Cogliano) have learned anything by now, it's that hockey in the NHL is a business above all things. It's not personal (alright in Souray's case it might be now) it's just business. For the Oilers, Andrew Cogliano is an asset. We may hate the term, but as an asset, Cogliano's value has diminished.

His value by no means has diminished so far that he's not tradeable. There are teams that could use his services. Ironically, one of those teams is the same home of Tomas Kaberle in Toronto. They've inquired about Cogliano, but nothing to this point has materialized.

The issue involving Cogliano now, is that teams will lowball Edmonton if and when the Oilers qualify him as a RFA before July 1st. Because Tambellini has to move contracts, he'll likely take a lesser hand to accomplish a goal -- that is moving out players who offer similar skills.

We wrote an earlier article about how busy Steve Tambellini will be over the next few days. Andrew Cogliano we think, is one of those deals Tambellini has in his back pocket and will happen sooner than later. Unfortunately, it's a deal for less than fair value and this now makes two players the Oilers won't get fair return for.

One I feel sorry for, the other makes me feel sorry for Edmonton.

2 comments:

What I don't understand is how Cogs would have been a straight up trade for the 15th overall draft pick. By all accounts it seemed as though the cost to get into the first round would have been much higher, even if it was in the middle of the round. I watched the entire first round ... man it got boring after #10 ... and I got a distinct sense that GMs were not willing to part with their draft picks. If Versteeg's price was a first round draft pick and GMs were balking ... how could Cogs go for a first rounder?

Make no mistake, I love Cogs and his heart but it seems strange that he would have been dangled for the 15th overall pick. It just doesn't make sense for me.

That being said, it is a damn shame that Cogs gets mentioned again ... he must think that the Oilers hate him ...

llcooljayce
June 28, 2010 at 8:58 AM comment-delete

It could be that Florida agreed with you that Cogs wasn't enough which is why the trade was declined.

There is some word that there was a conditional pick in place with a team, but there is no confirmation of what was included in that deal.

June 28, 2010 at 12:37 PM comment-delete

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