Itís not exactly a ringing endorsement, a one-year contract with a pay cut, but itís not exactly a surprise, either.
Andrew Cogliano is used to getting the short end of Edmontonís stick at the best of times and wasnít under the illusion that last year was anything close to that.
Coming off a sub-par year and with virtually no bargaining power in his off-season negotiations, he knew Edmonton wouldnít be offering anything the NHL might reject.
Ilya Kovalchuk money it ainít.
ďItís a process,Ē said the former first-round draft pick, who settled for a $1 million deal, down about $130,000 from last year. ďAt the end of the day there were some discussions between a one- or two-year deal and we couldnít come to an agreement there. So it ended up being a one-year deal and thatís it. At the end of the day it is what it is, thereís nothing much you can do, you have to play. Iím pretty pleased with the number I got in a one-year deal.Ē
Cogliano has struggled for respect from coaches and managers in Edmonton and this summer was no different. The Oilers tried trading him, for the second time in two years, and played lowball hardball with his contract, making him easier to move if they try a third time.
For some players, all this would be enough to give them a complex, if not a hate-on for the franchise, but the 23-year-old continues to bleed Oilers blue.
ďIíve done a good job this summer, mentally, of staying away from all that,Ē he said of the business end of things. ďIíve taken a step forward in not believing it and not letting it affect me.
ďI donít know whatís going to happen down the road; I could be traded or I could be here long term, I have no idea. All I know is Iím here for one year right now. Iím Oilers property and Iím happy to be here.
ďMy goal has always been to get a longer-term deal and play here. I enjoy playing here and I want to be here for the rebuild. Hopefully when I have a good year this year and when Iím playing well we can get a longer-term deal done later.
ďIím confident Iím going to have a good year and in the end, everything will come full circle and be good for me.Ē
At least at the end of this season, one way or another, heíll get some closure. Itíll either be fresh start somewhere else or the Oilers will commit to a multi-year deal and make him part of the future. Thereís no wrong answer there.
ďIt can go two ways,Ē said Cogliano. ďMy first option is to be here and be part of the rebuild because thereís something really special with the guys coming in.
ďIf not, then you move on, but my whole mind-set right now is to play hard and be a valuable part of this team. Iím looking to take a big step forward.Ē
He knows that his end of the bargain means improving as a player, being grittier, better at faceoffs, more productive and more versatile.
What better incentive is there than a one-year contract?
ďIím truly motivated, thatís for sure. Iím motivated from a lot of aspects. Itís a clean slate for everyone ó a new coach, thereís going to be a lot of opportunity given and the guys who play hard, the guys who respond, the guys who deserve it are going to get it.Ē