With their DEL regular season complete, the Cologne Sharks have announced that Philip Gogulla will not return to the club for the 2009-10 season. Failing to make the playoffs a year after reaching the league finals, the 6'2, 198-pound wing finished as the Sharks' third-leading scorer with 17 goals and 38 points on the year. It's not plausible that the Sharks would just dump their 21-year old budding star. So barring an unlikely jump to the SEL or KHL, it appears that Gogulla will finally land in North America for the 2009-10 season as originally planned when he extended his deal with Cologne in May of 2006. With the 2005 pick already under contract (he was "loaned" to Cologne), why not look at the possibility of letting the winger get his feet wet down the stretch this season in Portland? It makes sense to explore the option on a few different levels. Gogulla played 48 of his team's 52 game season. On basic principle, getting as much experience under his belt in one calendar year will only lead to better preparation for the long grind of an 80+ game North American schedule. Inside of that idea, the opportunity to gel with the current Pirates prospects through a playoff run would go a long way towards building chemistry and confidence on and off the ice if a move is indeed pending next fall. He played well with Nathan Gerbe and Marek Zagrapan at the summer development camp, and generally looked good in training camp and preseason contests. His mere presence on the farm could open things up immensely, giving the Pirates a more balanced forward look. Let's also not forget that Gogulla will represent Germany in the Olympics next February. National Team coach Uwe Krupp, a former teammate of Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, should be on the phone encouraging his agent to make the move possible for the development of his young forward. Overall, it seems like a protracted visit could work out well for all parties involved. Until anything happens, we'll continue to wait for more news about Gogulla's future intentions.