The Evolution of Andrew Cogliano
Not even the Anaheim Ducks would have told you that coming into this season they expected to win the Pacific Division and finish as the second seed in the Western Conference. After a disappointing 2011-12 campaign that saw them sit 13th, expectations for this year would have been mild to say the least. The Ducks, however, boast plenty of talent and 2013 saw Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Bobby Ryan bounce back from off years. Although these three and rookie goaltender Viktor Fasth, who burst onto the scene like Julie “The Cat” Gaffney, deserve much of the credit, the Ducks have also done a good job at improving their depth.
One such player who fills that type of role is Andrew Cogliano. After being a first round pick in the 2005 draft by the Edmonton Oilers, Cogliano failed to live up to expectations and was shipped to the Ducks prior to the 2011-12 season. He has seemed to have found a home in Anaheim by altering his game to become more of a role player, instead of trying to do too much and ultimately producing too little.
Cogliano had 24 goals and 50 points in 38 games for the University of Michigan in 2006-07 before making the jump to the pros. So it was reasonable to think the Oilers were getting a scorer and point producer. His first year in Edmonton saw 18 goals and 45 points which were solid for a rookie, but it was all down hill from there. Never again has he reached 40 points in a campaign.
Part of the challenge for any first round pick that doesn’t quite turn out to be the offensive player that they were before
coming to the NHL, is learning how to adapt. Many players in Cogliano’s situation don’t have the ability to change their game in the right ways to become a third liner, as opposed to a first. In college or juniors they probably never had to block shots or be strong defensively because of their offensive gifts. So learning those skills in the best league in the world is a real task.
Cogliano, however, seems to be one of those rare skaters to have figured things out. He has evolved into a reliable NHLer and has learned to contribute in other ways, as opposed to being relied on solely for his offense. The Ducks have also helped in the transition by using Cogliano in different areas to maximize his potential to help the team win. Much like Anaheim, poolies also nee