Plymouth, Michigan – Logan Cooley He said he can’t wait to play for the United States at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships in Edmonton from August 9-20, the start of a season that will run at the University of Minnesota and could conclude with the Arizona Coyotes.
“I feel really good,” said the 18-year-old at the National Junior Evaluation Camp at USA Hockey Arena last week. “My skills look sharp. Ice skating feels good. I feel like I’m not tired at all. I feel ready to go.”
It’s been a hectic few months for Cole, and he’s just getting started.
He had one assist in a 3-2 win over Slovakia in the preliminary round on December 26, the only US game before the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships on December 29 was canceled due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
He had 75 points (27 goals, 48 assists) in 51 appearances for the USA Hockey Team U18s development program team last season.
The Coyotes picked Cooley with the No. 3 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft on July 7, with General Manager Bill Armstrong saying, “He’s exactly what we need, and he has a chance to be the number one spot in the National Hockey League.”
Cooley said, “Your drafting, and especially picking the top five, is obviously very surreal, something I’ve been dreaming about. But to have that moment with my family in Montreal, it was so special.”
Video: Cooley over Coyotes picks him up for third in 2022 NHL Draft
Cooley flew on a private jet from Montreal to Phoenix, where he sat for a press conference between Armstrong and the other Arizona in round one: center Connor Gekkei (No. 11) and center back Maverick Lamoreaux (No. 29). Then he got a dose of reality at the Coyotes development camp, from the on-ice physical exam to the snowboard competition.
His biggest takeaway?
“I just think how hard it is to break the lineup in the NHL, how hard the players are and how strong I need to get as well,” Cooley said. “A year in college can really help. Just keep developing, and then I think I’ll be ready.”
Cooley (5 feet – 10, 180 pounds) returned home to the Pittsburgh area and skied at the Pittsburgh Penguins training facility in Cranberry, Pennsylvania. He shared the ice with many NHL players, including the Vancouver Canucks striker GT MillerNew York Rangers Center Vincent Trochek The Anaheim Ducks goalkeeper John Gibson, which showed Cooley how hard it is to score at the highest level in the sport. Cooley said Gibson leaves him with barely any net, then takes out his glove for a quick save.
“Obviously the NHL goalkeepers are really good, so I work on my shot a little bit stronger, a little more accurate as well,” Cooley said.
US coach Nate Lyman said Cooley played a lot of play against Slovakia on December 26, leading him to believe Cooley would be counted on by the end of the tournament, which has been rescheduled and will start over seven months later. The NHL Network will provide Full coverage of the tournament.
Cooley made an impression starting with his first practice at the Junior National Assessment Camp.
“He’s gearing up with the disc,” Lyman said. “He’s strong, he can make a lot of plays, and he’s ready to defend too. He’ll play a lot for us.”
defenseman Luke Hughes4, who was selected by the New Jersey Devils with the No. 4 pick of the 2021 NHL Draft and plays for the University of Michigan, said he and his future Big Ten opponent followed each other in battle drill after practice.
“I think he’s obviously a really good player,” Hughes said of Cooley. “He can skate. He has a good sense of hockey. He’s bigger than expected. He’s very strong in there, he has a strong stick, and he’s really fast. He’s a great player. It would be fun to play with him in Minnesota.”
After Junior World, Cooley will go home for a few days, then head to Minnesota for his new season.
“Obviously, you know, I want to play in the NHL as quickly as possible,” Cooley said. “I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Bill Armstrong a little bit, but it’s also about what kind of season I’m in and how I’m doing there. The rest will take care of itself.”
Photos: Kelsey Grant/Arizona Coyotes