Logan Cooley wants to ‘thrive in NHL,’ make impact with Coyotes

Sep 19, 2023, 9:15 PM

Logan Cooley walks toward the stage after being selected third overall by the Arizona Coyotes durin...

Logan Cooley walks toward the stage after being selected third overall by the Arizona Coyotes during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 07, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

SCOTTSDALE — It’s an exciting time in the desert.

The Arizona Coyotes may be in a rebuild, but the vibes in Tempe haven’t been this good in a long time.

Yes, the search for a permanent home seems to drown out nearly every other Coyotes headline, but there’s much more to this team than a 5,000-seat arena.

It’s a young and up-and-coming group, a prospect pool with depth and intrigue.

Prospects Dmitri Simashev, Conor Geekie and Maveric Lamoureux look to improve their craft in the minors, while Dylan Guenther, labeled “the leader of our young generation” by coach Andre Tourigny, will likely break out with the Coyotes this season after a small stint with them in 2022.

On top of a sensational 37-goal, 86-point breakout campaign from forward Clayton Keller and a plethora of veteran signings, in comes rookie center Logan Cooley.

The 19-year-old No. 3 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft lit up the NCAA with Minnesota last season, leading them to the national championship game with 22 goals and 38 assists in 39 games.

Now, he’s ready to make an impact for the Coyotes.

“I’m a guy that’s super competitive. I’ve always had high expectations,” Cooley said. “Going in, I want to be an impactful player. That’s my goal. I want to help this team win as many games as possible, I want to produce and I want to thrive in this league. And I feel like I’m ready to do that.”

The offseason has been nothing but a whirlwind to Pittsburgh native.

Cooley originally opted to return to Minnesota for his sophomore season, but ultimately changed his mind, signing a three-year, $13 million deal with the Coyotes on Jul. 27.

“It’s been pretty hectic, going back to school … training pro. So there’s been a lot of mixed emotions of both of those decisions. I’m happy with the decision I made,” Cooley said. “I feel like I’m ready. I feel like I’m ready to play in the best league in the world, so I’m looking forward to doing it.”

With school out of the picture, Cooley can solely focus on hockey.

“Get to the fun part of playing games and battling every day at practice. That’s what I love to do,” Cooley said. “That’s why I play this game because you love it. So it’s nice to put the side of the decision making and focus on hockey.”

Cooley grew up emulating his game after some of the NHL’s greats. Now, not only is he looking forward to putting on his skates and playing in his first NHL game, but he’s looking forward to playing against his childhood idols.

“You go from one day watching (Connor) McDavid, (Alex) Ovechkin, (Sidney) Crosby on TV, and now you’re thinking you could be playing against him in a few months,” Cooley said. “It’s every hockey player’s dream … just thinking about it still gives you chills. I’ve got to make the team first, got to put in the work and that’ll be a fun game for sure.”

Cooley played in the 2023 Rookie Faceoff in Las Vegas on Friday, hopping on a 16-hour flight soon after to Melbourne, Australia, where the Coyotes are currently in training camp.

The Coyotes open up their season against the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 13, and the team is excited to see what he brings to the table.

“I want to see his work ethic, I want to know how much he can absorb the information, how much he can adapt quickly, all of it,” Tourigny said. “It’s just the way we are in the coaching world where I want to see where’s the ceiling in terms of teaching, working with him, what he can absorb and how he can play the position as a center.”

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