2022 NHL Draft Tracker: Logan Cooley
Logan Cooley, at one point this season, was considered the only prospect with the potential to upend Shane Wright for the No. 1 spot in the 2022 NHL Draft.
Cooley, who leads all US National Team Development Program players with a 1.47 points-per-game by registering 63 points (23 goals, 40 assists) in 43 games, is a highly skilled, offensively gifted forward with great speed and maneuverability.
There’s plenty to like in the No. 2 ranked prospect in FCHockey’s Spring ranking for the 2022 draft. The 17-year-old has been touted as the top American-born prospect at this year’s draft and he’s almost unanimously the secondary choice behind Wright.
“Cooley is a dynamic two-way center who excels in all facets of the game,” FCHockey head US scout Austin Broad said. “He’s the type of player you can play in all situations and anywhere in your lineup because his skill set allows him to play multiple roles during a single game.”
So let’s dive a little deeper into the hockey traits of Cooley to discover what might make him a potential second overall selection at the 2022 draft.
WHO IS LOGAN COOLEY?
Cooley is listed at 5-foot-11 and 174 pounds and is on the younger side of things when it comes to the 2022 draft because of his May 4 birthday.
He played his minor hockey in the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite Program and joined the US National Team Development Program (USNTDP) during the 2020-21 season and has honed his skills — a is a dependable two-way center with some offensive upside and a complete 200-foot game — for the past two seasons.
His game revolves around his speed and his high hockey IQ. Cooley is a hard worker and is always moving around the ice, looking for open lanes or for teammates to pass off to.
Cooley is the No. 2 ranked player at FCHockey, and is the No. 2 ranked North American skater in the NHL Central Scouting mid-season rankings.
Cooley started with the USNTDP as a 16-year-old and registered 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 19 games with the U18 squad during the 2020-21 season. He also skated with Team USA at the 2020 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, where he had two assists in five games as one of the younger players on the team.
Cooley continued his success with the USNTDP this season, ranking second on the team in scoring with 64 points (23 goals, 41 assists) in 43 games. His 1.49 points-per-game this year slots him among some of the top forwards to skate with the USNTDP during their draft years, such as Cole Caufield, with 1.56, and Trevor Zegras, with 1.45 PPG.
Cooley was also the only under-18 player to make Team USA’s entry at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, though the tournament was postponed in December and will be restart in August.
Skating is one strength that immediately stands out when scouts watch Cooley play. His first step and acceleration is top notch. It compliments his high-end speed, which seems effortless and controlled. Cooley also has some impressive edgework and can make tight turns in small areas, which helps him evade defenders and set himself up for offensive opportunities.
The other feature of his game that stands out is his puckhandling skills and on-ice awareness. When he attacks the offensive zone, Cooley utilizes his skating in conjunction with his offensive skill set to manipulate defensive coverage, making him a dynamic presence when on the ice.
“Offensively he’s a multi-dimensional threat who can create chances for himself and for his teammates,” Broad said. “He’s a disciplined forward who rarely finds himself out of position and uses his positioning and active stick to help negate opposing chances.”
Cooley also uses his strong skating and hockey IQ to help cover all three zones on the ice. His impressive defensive play makes a player that can be relied upon in most situations, allowing him to touch the game in multiple facets.
COOLEY’S AREAS OF IMPROVEMENTS
One area of improvement that Cooely needs to work on is his risk management. There are times when he will attempt to stickhandle in high-danger areas, like when being the last skater in the defensive zone, that can lead to a puck loss for scoring chances against.
Another weakness that is noted in Cooley’s game is his puck protection. He at times is easily pushed off the puck by opposing players, leading to loss of puck possession. This however, can be easily addressed by adding some weight and strength as he matures physically.
Cooley is trending to be the No. 2 pick in the 2022 draft. His strong skating, offensive awareness and responsible two-way play make him a highly touted prospect for any NHL team. He needs to address some flaws in his game, such as making high risk plays in critical areas of the ice, and he needs to bulk up and add strength to be able to handle the workload at the next level.
A year at the University of Minnesota should help with his development and that time spent in the NCAA could translate into something special once he is ready for the NHL.
“In two years I fully expect Cooley to be a mainstay in the NHL, likely centering a line in a team’s middle-six and playing in all situations,” Broad said. “With his skillset and IQ I firmly expect to see Cooley in the conversation for the Calder Trophy during his rookie season.”