Andrew Cogliano has found a home in Anaheim playing a role he developed in Edmonton.
The former Edmonton Oilers centre has fit in well on the Ducks third line this season, proving to be a valuable commodity in his own end of the ice and on the penalty kill.
“Things have gone pretty well for me here,” said Cogliano, prior to Friday’s game against the Oilers. “It’s been a transition for sure. It’s been a little different with the coaching change, that’s the first time I’ve experienced that.
“But I think I’m getting much more comfortable. I’m on the third line and getting big PK minutes like I was last year. I’m just trying to do my job for the most part and I think I’m on pace to score more goals than I have the last two years which is good for me.”
Having entered the league as a highly-touted offensive forward, Cogliano lived up to his billing with a strong 45-point season in his rookie year.
Yet as opponents started to pay more attention to him, offensive production became harder to come by and the Toronto native had to reinvented himself with the Oilers.
Having dropped down in the lineup, Cogliano eventually went from a top-line forward to a dependable third-line checker.
“The thing for me last year was trying to find a role to help the team and make sure I was contributing,” Cogliano said. “For me that was the main goal.
“I think I’m settling into that here. At the beginning of the year I was playing all over the place. I was playing on the wing, I was playing centre and now I’m kind of more in a role that I was last year, which I’m getting used to.”
Cogliano’s struggles in the face-off circle is what made him expendable with the Oilers last season. The club felt they needed a reliable person to take draws in order to take some of the burden off Shawn Horcoff.
By moving Cogliano, the Oilers were able to make room for Eric Belanger, who has filled the checking role, but has been unable to make up the difference on offence.
Heading into Friday’s contest Cogliano has eight goals and six assists on the year.
“The one thing you know about him, good or bad, is that he works his tail off all night,” said Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau. “There are some nights he looks like he should be an all-star and other nights where he’s going so fast he forgets what he’s supposed to be doing.
“But I like what he’s brought, his penalty killing has been real good, which is an important factor. I know it’s something he takes great pride in and it gives us that third-line depth, whether we need him at centre or on the wing.”
The only thing not going well for Cogliano is the fact his team is not winning.
The Ducks struggled early on, prompting a coaching change as Randy Carlyle was fired and replaced by Boudreau, who, himself, had been fired just two days earlier by the Washington Capitals.
“I think we’ve been inconsistent,” Cogliano said. “I don’t think we haven’t been able to put it all together, which is different then guys are used to around here. At the beginning of the year, things weren’t mixing properly, which, I think, is why there was ultimately a coaching change. Lately we felt like we’re getting more, we’re getting better goaltending, Getzlaf’s line is playing great and we’re getting some good consistency from the third and fourth lines.”