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2022 NHL Draft: Logan Cooley is ever-present and dynamic

The University of Minnesota commit is right there.

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2022 USA Hockey All-American Game Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

Welcome to Hockey Wilderness’ coverage of the 2022 NHL Draft. We will not act like experts, nor will we act like we have watched hours of footage of these players. So instead, we have opted to rely on the opinion of people who have, and have compiled plenty of information from different publications regarding these prospects. Note: This is not a ranking, but just going down a list of interesting draft-eligible dudes without any order in mind.

Logan Cooley has been considered a top prospect for a while now. Even a year ago — almost immediately after the 2021 NHL Draft — his name was common in the top-10 rankings that those draft nerds put out in preparation for this year’s boy sale. And Cooley’s stock has only risen from that point.

Going the traditional route of playing with piles of top prospects at the United States National Team Development Program, Cooley was able to put up piles of points and eventually was determined at the top of that class. And it might just be because he’s one of the most projectable players available on July 7.

Cooley can play in all situations, is constantly aware of his surroundings, and just looks like he is putting piles of more effort compared to anyone else on the ice. A lightning bug that is zipping and zapping, stripping pucks and immediately creating offense; Cooley is a player that so many teams drool over because he can just be so heavily relied upon and shine in a top-six center spot without much thought of who will be playing with him.

We’re jealous of whichever team is going to draft the University of Minnesota commit, but at least we can watch him play here for several months.

Pre-Draft Rankings

#2 (NA skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
#2 by McKenzie/TSN (midseason)
#3 by Dobber Prospects (April)
#4 by Wheeler/The Athletic (midseason)
#3 by EliteProspects

What Scouts Are Saying

Cooley is a dynamic player. When he has the puck on his stick you instantly notice him because of his high-end speed, skill and offensive IQ. He can make highly creative dekes and passes at full speed. The pace of his game is why I think he will be a top NHL player. He takes pucks up the ice and to the net often. Cooley lacks size, but he plays hard. He can drive play at even strength while also having the vision and shot to be a power-play threat running a unit from the walls. He projects as a first-line forward; as a center, he would be a low-end first-line center in the NHL. — Corey Pronman, The Athletic

Offensively, he brings an incredibly creative and smooth demeanor as he maneuvers in and out of pressured situations. After drawing in defenders, he is able to process the play quickly, using his incredible vision to find an open man – making him a threat at all times. Of course, do not sleep on his scoring ability, either. Whether it is undressing goaltenders in tight or unleashing an accurate snapshot from the half-wall, Cooley’s ability to find twine is just as impressive as his vision. While the skating stride is by no means perfect, he plays the game with explosive pace and can make defenders pay off of the rush. All-in-all, he delivers the entire offensive package.

In his own zone, he is efficient and understands when to stand back and take over defensive responsibilities. He reads the play incredibly well, while his swift skating allows him to be in all areas of the ice on short notice. Despite a smaller frame, he does not shy away from being aggressive on puck carriers and brings the ability to kill penalties – something that isn’t always prominent in such a high octane forward. — Dave Hall, Dobber Prospects

Logan Cooley’s style of play is one which every team in the NHL could use on their roster. He’s an extremely talented two-way forward, and where he may lack in size to some, he certainly more than makes up for it by playing an extremely mature game in all areas of the ice. Cooley can be trusted in every situation, regardless of how the game is playing out. His two-way game is arguably amongst the top of the class, if not already sitting atop the list. — Paul Zuk

Cooley is a beautiful, flowing skater capable of beating defenders off the mark or circling the zone to get defenders watching him with the puck. He’s got an uncanny ability to side-step and hop around oncoming players at speed. He’s got a great sixth sense for timing and spacing around the zone which frees him to accept passes or jumps him onto rebounds. Despite a smallish frame, he regularly flashes skill to the inside, slicing to the middle and pulling pucks through or around defenders. He’s also a Swiss Army knife player who combines NHL speed and skill with a working attitude to push pace, make plays, win races, stay involved, and get onto the ice in all situations. I love his tempo and feel for the game out there. His touch with the puck and hands both get high grades, his skating (particularly his change of pace) and energy level are both differentiators, and those things make for a pretty compelling package on the ice. You won’t find a scout who doesn’t like him, either. — Scott Wheeler, The Athletic

Would They Fit In With The Wild?

Cooley, as everyone sings his praises above, is an energetic force that provide value on both ends of the ice and just meld well into any offensive system with his playmaking and ability to transition the puck up the ice. So, yeah, if any team is able to turn centers that can skate just decently well, but has incredible vision and good enough tools, into top-line players, it’s the Minnesota Wild. So, yeah, Cooley would be nice (plus he’s going to be playing here.)

Can The Wild Get Them?

There is going to be a lot of denial in this section for the next several profiles. The Wild are picking 24th overall. They will not draft Logan Cooley.

A Minnesota Relation

It’s just a feeling that I get, but I sense a little 2007-08 Pierre-Marc Bouchard in Cooley. It was his career year when Marian Gaborik was scoring points out his ass — and held the franchise record for points scored in a season until Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala came along this year — but it’s the steadiness of Bouchard and just being able to have that sparkplug capability decently in all three zones that has me feeling that way.

2022 NHL Draft Board

  1. Shane Wright — C, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
  2. Logan Cooley — C, U.S. National U18 Team (USDP)