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2022 Draft Preview: Logan Cooley

Logan is cool, but how Cooley?

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

Before we talk about this very talented hockey player, there is an undeniable and unfixable part of his game...

...Logan Cooley is born and raised in Pittsburgh (fart noise).

While my brain knows that it is insane and irrational to devalue a player as clearly gifted as Cooley, my heart and my Philly gut full of cheesesteaks tells me that this kid would catch nothing but heat for being from Pittsburgh. It’s not as if a player born and raised in rival city can’t be a star for the enemy. For instance, Jarome Iginla is from Edmonton and went onto become the greatest Calgary Flames player ever. However, if drafted here, Cooley would have to pretty much play at a Hall of Fame level to quell the incessant, “well you know he’s from Pittsburgh!” hot takery.

Regardless of where he is from and where he is going, Logan Cooley is supremely talented and any NHL team (especially the Flyers) would be lucky to have him.

When you watch the highlights, comparables like Patrick Kane and Johnny Gaudreau instantly come to mind. The major difference between Logan Cooley and those other two names is that Cooley plays down the middle as a center. Cooley’s position is not immaterial for a few different reasons, but while similar to Kane and Gaudreau, Cooley drives play from the middle lane which is harder, and therefore, a more valuable commodity.

Watched even closer, the way that he uses his edges, the way that he loops and is constantly stalking around, Cooley has shades of Austin Matthews. I am not saying that he will project to be anything close to Matthews, especially since Cooley is not nearly as good as a shooter. I am saying that his play without the puck reminds me of Matthews. Much more realistically, Cooley looks exactly like what he is in that he has one less year of development than Matty Beniers. In fact, while breaking this game down, there were several times that I had to stop to make sure I was watching Cooley and not Beniers.

Regardless as to who we want to compare Cooley to, just like most 17 year olds, there are good things, and there parts of his game that need to be worked on. Let’s start on the “in progress” areas of his game:

Even though it gets him in trouble sometimes, I love the way that Cooley skates and that he is always hunting the puck. He will need to grow physically and will have to learn more technique and strategy when it comes to winning/neutralizing/not completely losing 50-50 puck battles. That said, his offensive instincts are undeniably there, and should only get better with more development:

Logan Cooley is already committed to a stacked Minnesota team next year where he and Matthew Knies are just going to rip apart BIG10 NCAA. While it will be fun to watch him destroy that league next year, his long-term NHL success will be contingent upon him adding more strength and technique to the physical side of his game.

If selected by the Flyers, he immediately becomes the most skilled offensive center that we have but it will take him a year or two to climb the depth chart. Best case and realistic scenario, Logan Cooley has a development curve similar to Jack Hughes.

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