a·cu·men [ak-yuh-muhn] noun: keen insight; shrewdness

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Monday, 1 August 2011

08/01/11 57.0 Cogliano VS. Lander

Anton Lander

Andrew Cogliano has been traded away, at least partially because the Oilers have a number of quality centers on the rise. One of them is Anton Lander. Another part of the reason that Cogs finds himself in California is that he was going to be playing a bottom-six role for the Oilers, which is probably the same type of role that the organization has in mind for Lander. Let's look at how they stack up.

If we assume based on Desjardins' numbers that the Swedish Elite League is 78% as tough to score in as the NHL, then Anton Lander projects to score around 14-20-34 in an 82 game NHL season. That compares strongly with Cogliano's 11-24-35 in 82 games last year.

The difference is that Lander is a $900,000 NHL cap hit for the next three years, and his salary is only $67,500 if he plays in Oklahoma City. Cogliano, meanwhile, carries a $2,390,000 cap hit for the next three years with a salary that increases from $2.15 million to $2.35 million to $2.67 million. That's a huge difference in compensation for players that should be able to produce at around the same level.

Naturally, there are still plenty of people who will point to Cogliano's first two years in the NHL and his back-to-back 18 goal seasons. "He was an offensive diamond in the rough!" those people cry. That might be true, but it probably isn't.

Over those first two years Cogliano had shooting percentages of 18.4% and 15.5%. These are ridicuously inflated numbers. As a rookie Cogliano scored those 18 goals on just 98 total shots on goal - the lowest total of his career. For whatever reason, he got a high percentage of his shots past opposing goaltenders for the first two years of his career. In the last two years, Cogliano's shooting percentage has plummeted to 7.2% and 8.5%. He had a career high in shots (139) in 2009-10 and a career low in goals with ten.

If we take Cogliano's average shooting percentage over his career (11.8%) and multiply it by the average number of shots he gets per season (120.5), we see that Cogliano would have scored around 14 goals per year over that span. That is probably closer to how his career projects than simply looking at his first two years or his last two.

Todd Marchant

If the idea is for Cogliano to replace Todd Marchant in Anaheim, it means that Cogliano won't be getting much more opportunity than he did in Edmonton to produce offense. Here is the average time each spent on the ice per game over the last four seasons:

YearTodd MarchantAndrew Cogliano

Of course, Cogliano could one day replace Saku Koivu on the Ducks' second line, which will probably inject some life into his numbers. The fact that he'll have some better linemates and will be used in more offensive situations shouldn't hurt him, at least. But again, Cogliano is probably a downgrade in a second line role from what the Oilers have in Sam Gagner.

By trading Cogliano, the Oilers opened the door for a player like Anton Lander to make the leap to the NHL. If he does, there's every chance that he can be just as effective as Cogliano in a checking role, while chipping in a little offense. And he'll do it for a heck of a lot cheaper than Cogliano will; at least for the next three seasons. Acquiring a second round pick only makes the deal that much better.

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