looks at his last couple of months and sees a new beginning.
Until this summer, he had only known life in the NHL as a member of the Oilers, who took him 25th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. That was until July, when Anaheim acquired him in arguably its biggest move of the offseason, one with the hope of providing more scoring depth. Cogliano is now in his first training camp with the club and looking forward to what lies ahead in this second act of his hockey career.
“This is a new start for me and my career,” the 24-year-old said. “The minute I got traded, it was an exciting thing for me. Now I’m here and it’s time to play. I have to go out and get accustomed to my linemates and different surroundings. The easier I get adapted to everything, the better off I’ll be.”
An intriguing possibility that has surfaced through the first week of training camp is having Cogliano, a center throughout his career, play left wing alongside Saku Koivu
and Teemu Selanne
on Anaheim’s second forward line. He has played in that position exclusively since camp began at Honda Center last Saturday. Despite never playing a full game there, he has not looked out of place.
The first few days he was playing alongside Koivu and ended up scoring the game-winning goal in Monday’s intrasquad scrimmage. When the Ducks opened preseason action against Phoenix on Tuesday, Cogliano and Selanne were sharing ice time together as wingers. He assisted on Anaheim’s first goal of that contest and scored a goal as well, briefly tying the game in the second period of a 7-4 loss.
“Hopefully, I get a chance to play there and we have some chemistry,” said Cogliano, who has totaled 146 points and played in 328 straight games during the first four years of his career. “That was the first time I have ever played left wing for a whole game for the most part. I thought I did pretty well and adjusted in a good way. As the games go on, I’ll get more comfortable. I’ll watch some video and see what I need to do.”
Blazing speed is what truly sets Cogliano apart. He once won the Faster Skater competition at the 2009 All-Star Weekend. It does not take long for that attribute to shine through in either a practice or game. Trying to contain him on one wing and Selanne (who even at 41 years old can still outskate most) on the other could create some matchup problems for opposing teams. It definitely made an impression on the center of their line against the Coyotes, 2010 first round draft pick Peter Holland
“Playing with the Finnish Flash and Cogliano out there, sometimes they were going one way and I was still catching up going the other way,” he said. “It was quite a treat to play with those guys.”
Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle has liked what he has seen from Cogliano at the new position. This weekend could be important on whether he will stay there, at least to begin the season. Anaheim will play three road preseason games in three nights, eating up most of its exhibition schedule.
“We’ll experiment a little bit more through the course of this weekend,” Carlyle said. “Cogliano might get a chance to play center. He might not. We think the speed factor that he has should be a positive impact. I think he can create more with his speed on the outside. We see it in practice. We have to see it translated into the game. We’ve talked about it with him and it’s up to him now.”
Wherever he opens the 2011-12 season, Cogliano is appreciate for the new opportunities as a member of the Ducks. “If it’s on the wing on the second line or centering the third line, we’ll see where they slot me,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll be on different lines and tried in different situations. At the end of the day, I’m going to be playing with good guys and good players. That is exciting for me.”