Should the Toronto Maple Leafs Make a Pitch for Andrew Cogliano?

Drew WestCorrespondent ISeptember 9, 2010

Andrew Cogliano and Nikolai Kulemin collide mid-ice.
Andrew Cogliano and Nikolai Kulemin collide mid-ice.Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Recent reports have stated that the Edmonton Oilers are having trouble coming to terms with young centre Andrew Cogliano on a new contract. It has been rumored that Edmonton is offering Cogliano around $1.25 million per year on a short-term contract, although Cogliano is interested in more money and a longer deal.

Cogliano had a disappointing 2009-2010 season, scoring only 10 goals and putting up 28 points in a full 82 game campaign. In his previous two seasons in the NHL he put up 18 goals, which is quite respectable while playing as a rookie and sophomore on a below average team.  

In my opinion, his numbers were heavily affected by playing the majority of the 2009-10 season on the third and fourth lines, primarily with grinders Zach Stortini and Ethan Moreau. Cogliano was demoted to the lower forwards' lines after playing his first two seasons with Sam Gagner and Robert Nilsson, hence the higher goal totals earlier in his career.

I can't explain Cogliano's demotion to the Oilers checking lines, especially since he has consistently been one of the better defensive players on the team for the past three seasons. Although his minus-5 rating last year doesn't look great on paper, this was one of the better ratings on an awful (albeit heavily injured) team.

Cogliano is one of the fastest young players in the entire NHL, and has shown he can be a consistent 15 to 20 goal scorer if given the proper minutes and linemates.

If Lowe and Cogliano can't come to an agreement before the preseason begins, look for Lowe to call around the league to see if anyone is interested. It has been rumored that Lowe has been trying to package Cogliano with Sheldon Souray, which may explain why there haven't been any takers as of yet.

The question is, would Brian Burke be interested in bringing the hometown boy back to where he grew up and played hockey basically his entire life?

Cogliano is a natural centre, which Toronto currently has many of. Although centres get shifted to the wing all the time, and i'm sure with his speed he would fit right in as a left winger, which the Leafs desperately need. At 5'10", 190 pounds, he is relatively undersized as most Leafs forwards currently are, but he would replace the blazing speed that left the organization with Viktor Stalberg.

I'm sure most people reading this would ask why would the Leafs need another guy who can only contribute 10 to 20 goals a year? Well right now the Leafs need all the offensive help they can get at an affordable price. Cogliano is a huge offensive upgrade from Freddy Sjostrom (who when healthy, will most likely be slotted into the third line left winger position), and would look good on a line with Mikhail Grabovski and Colby Armstong.

If coming to the Leafs sparks his idling offensive talent, he would also be a great complement to players like Phil Kessel and Kris Versteeg because of his great speed.

Another question is what would you give up to get him? Since the Oilers are currently in re-build mode, they would most likely want either a young roster player of similar talent, prospects, or a draft pick(s).

In my opinion, giving up a package of Matt Lashoff, Ben Scrivens and a fourth round pick is reasonable, especially since Cogliano isn't even signed yet. Or would the Oilers have their sights set on a guy like Luca Caputi or Mikhail Grabovski?

After watching under-acheiving players like Peter Mueller, Wojtek Wolski, Niclas Bergfors, and Guillaume Latendresse get traded to a new team and flourish in their new environment, it makes me wonder if this is all Andrew Cogliano needs to get his career back on track.

I know Burke has recently said that the current roster is the group he will most likely head into the season with, so this article is purely speculation. Although, if Lowe was to call Burke and offer Cogliano for below market value, he may just bite.

Would you like to see Burke trade for Cogliano, or do the Leafs have enough players with a similar skill set?