With forward Andrew Cogliano deciding to sign with the San Jose Sharks, the Dallas Stars lost a good checking-line winger. He was a piece of the Stars’ penalty kill and had a high IQ when in his defensive zone. Paired with Blake Comeau and Radek Faksa, Cogliano helped make the Stars’ checking line fierce when battling on the boards and a tricky line to beat when in their own zone.
The effectiveness of the Stars’ fourth line last season got muddied by the various injuries to their top-line players. Tyler Seguin missed all but three games last season due to injury, and when he did play, he scored a game-tying goal in an eventual 5-4 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers. Arguably, he would have also made a difference in any of the league-leading 14 overtime losses that the Stars suffered last season. He ranked in the top-10 in game-winning goals for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, so his absence drastically hurt the Stars’ lineup.
These injuries caused Cogliano, Comeau, and Faksa to be jumped around the lineup to fill holes. Because these players are on the team for mainly defensive purposes, all three struggled to perform offensively.
Cogliano was getting just over $3 million per season from the Stars. Clearing him off the roster, and Comeau agreeing to re-sign for less money than his previous contract, allowed the Stars to pursue defenseman Ryan Suter and goalie Braden Holtby. Suter fills the hole left by defenseman Jamie Oleksiak. Oleksiak was selected in the expansion draft by the Seattle Kraken. Holtby is a questionable upgrade to Anton Khudobin, as both goalies struggled last season.
Signing Luke Glendening
The Stars chose to replace Cogliano with the former alternate captain of the Detroit Red Wings, Luke Glendening. Glendening is defensively comparable to Cogliano, but he excels at winning faceoffs and adds a slight scoring advantage.
A statistic that stands out is the 60 percent faceoff wins that Glendening had last season. He averaged almost 16 faceoffs per game. Cogliano couldn’t take faceoffs, and coach Rick Bowness even put Jamie Benn at center to win some draws. Last season, on average, the Stars won 51.8 percent of their faceoffs, ranking them at sixth in the league. Bowness’ use of Benn in the faceoff dot shows that he felt the team needed a dedicated player for the faceoff, and they get that in Glendening.
“Luke is a hard-working, detailed player that is very productive in all areas of the game,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “He is elite in the faceoff circle, he is a shot-blocking machine, and he will play a big role on our penalty kill.”
Nill was an assistant general manager in Detroit when the Red Wings first signed Glendening in 2013.
Cogliano posted multiple 40-point seasons while with the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers. His days of scoring above 15 points in a season seem to be behind him, as he hasn’t reached that mark in any of the last four seasons.
Glendening isn’t a proficient scorer either, but he brings more with his defensive statistics. Glendening had 68 hits and 57 blocks during the 2020-21 season, compared to Cogliano’s 79 hits and 24 blocks. Glendening blows Cogliano away when looking at blocked shots, but their hit totals are very similar. Looking past this previous season, Glendening’s 2020-21 hit total is likely a fluke.
He had 147 hits during the 2019-20 season, where Cogliano only had 86. During the 2018-19 season, Glendening had 198 hits through 78 games. Cogliano only had 68 hits, playing the same amount of games. Glendening has a history of dishing out hits that tally in the triple digits. With next season slated to be a full 82 games, odds are he will tally well over 100 hits if he stays healthy.
Cogliano had a positive impact on the Stars’ checking line. However, his replacement in Glendening looks to be a better option on paper. Glendening has a more consistent career as a bruising, bottom-six forward — a necessity for the teams who are considered contenders.
Glendening will hit more opponents and block more shots than Cogliano, plus he is a faceoff specialist. For what the Stars need to solidify the team, Glendening is the perfect fit alongside Faksa and Comeau to break down opposing power plays and decisively win faceoff draws in their own zone. The signing of Glendening will make this team better.