Ducks Stat-urday: Contemplating Cogs

Jeff Gross

Andrew Cogliano is having an incredible season. Exactly how is he doing it?

Before we get started, I need to eat some crow. BennyLightning and I had a lively debate in a game thread earlier this year and I proclaimed that even in a shortened season, there was no way that Andrew Cogliano would reach the 48-game equivalents of 20 goals or 30 points.

Swing and a miss.

Simply put, Cogs has been an incredible surprise this year. For a guy that seemed to flame out since his rookie campaign saw him pot 18 goals and 45 points, Cogliano is on a pace to put up numbers that would best both of those over an 82-game season (his 10 goals and 17 points through 26 games project out to 31 goals and 54 points).

So what could possibly explain this sudden turnaround? Let’s take a deeper look.

Scoring Rates

As I mentioned, Cogliano is on-pace to shatter his previous goal record and top his best point total ever. Since his average TOI this season is almost identical to his career average, we can just take a basic per game look at some key measures over his career. I’ve called out 2007-2008, since it’s his best statistical season ever prior to the current campaign.

2012-2013

2011-2012

2007-2008

Career Average

Points/Game

0.65

0.32

0.55

0.43

Goals/Game

0.38

0.16

0.22

0.18

Shots/Game

1.58

1.40

1.2

1.46

Two things immediately jump out: Cogs had an abysmal 2011-2012 and he’s having an equally amazing 2012-2013. He’s taking more shots this year (and if I was on-pace to score as many goals as he is, I’d be throwing everything possible at the net myself) and he’s definitely being rewarded. It’s interesting to note that Cogs has usually racked up points in his career as an assist man, but a greater share of his points this year are coming from goals.

Not included here is the fact that Cogs historically earns points on the power play. He doesn’t have a single power play points this year (compared to 7 his rookie season), but he does have a shorthanded goal.

Shooting

Obviously, Cogs is doing something different in terms of shooting or he’s getting crazy lucky. What say you, statistics?

2012-2013

2011-2012

2007-2008

Career Average*

Shooting %

24.4

11.3

18.4

27.4

Shot Distance

26.5

30.1

23.5

12.5

PDO

1072

991

1025

1013

* Estimates based on numerical average of six seasons (partial season skews numbers a bit).

So that shooting percentage is crazy, and Cogs’ PDO certainly supports the notion that this is going to come down. That said, when he lit it up in 2007-2008, Cogs was able to shoot 18.4%. So it’s not outside of the realm of possibility for him to finish in the high teens. That said, he is shooting from closer this year than he did last year, and every other year except his rookie campaign. It may or may not be an accident that his best shot distance since his rookie campaign is also resulting in his best shooting percentage since then.

Puck Possession

Cogs’ value extends beyond his ability to score (prior to this season, his ability to score probably hurt his value). His speed makes him an excellent member on the PK and it generally allows him to put pressure on defenses. Let’s take a quick look at his ability to influence the direction of play and his ability to draw penalties.

2012-2013

2011-2012

2007-2008

Career Average*

Corsi

3.62

-4.80

-14.52

-6.04

Corsi Rel

18.1 (!!!)

-2.8

-8.9

1.87

Penalties Drawn/60

1.1

0.6

1.6

1.0

Quality of Teammates

0.522

0.025

-0.060

0.068

+/-

15

-4

1

-11

* Estimates based on numerical average of six seasons (partial season skews numbers a bit).

There’s a lot to digest here, but first the positives. That Corsi Rel is just ridiculous. It leads the team, and the next closest forward is Saku Koivu at 11.3. I don’t even know how you can explain that. It’s just stunning.

Other positives are his +15 rating and the fact that he’s drawing more penalties per 60 minutes at a rate slightly better than his career norm. His 3.62 Corsi is also the best he’s ever had. That probably goes a long way toward explaining some of his astronomical Corsi Rel.

The biggest thing that gives me pause in all of this, though, is that incredibly high quality of teammates number. In fact, every year he was in Edmonton, Cogs had negative quality of teammates scores. He was paired with awful players there and his high Ducks numbers completely skew his career average. So while Cogs is definitely playing well, it’s not a stretch to say that he’s benefitting by playing with more talented players than he ever has (stick tap to Koivu and Daniel Winnik, who have been incredible this season).

The Money

Before I wrap this up, I wanted to look at one more thing. Cogs currently has 10 goals, and of the other players in the NHL with as many goals as him (or more), only Jiri Tlusty, Pascal Dupuis, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, Cody Hodgson, Damien Brunner, and Michael Grabner have annual salaries lower than Cogs’ $2,350,000. The other 34 players all make more than he does.

Closing Thoughts

Andrew Cogliano is having an incredible year. While some of his numbers indicate that he might not be able to sustain this type of play (specifically his PDO, shooting percentage, and quality of teammates), there are also many reasons to think that he is closer to this year’s version of himself than last year’s. His Corsi Rel is just off the charts and he’s taking shots from closer to the net than he has since his rookie year. His speed still plays well and he’s certainly developed something valuable with Koivu and Winnik.

I have no idea what the future holds for Cogs. He’s under contract for next season at $2,670,000 before becoming a UFA. If I’m Bob Murray, I absolutely wait until you’re 75% of the way through next season to see how Cogliano’s performance holds up. If he’s near the incredible numbers he’s putting up this year, it’s probably worthwhile to sign him to a 3 year, $8 million deal.

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