Logan Cooley gets nerves out of the way in NHL debut for the Arizona Coyotes
Oct 14, 2023, 10:54 AM | Updated: 12:18 pm
(Photo by Rich Graessle/NHLI via Getty Images)
Logan Cooley and the Arizona Coyotes started the season with a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils with the rookie forward registering two assists in his highly-anticipated debut.
It was a memorable night for the third overall pick in the 2022 draft as he transitions from college hockey to competing with others in the sport at the highest level our species can generate.
“The whole experience, first stepping on the ice with the solo lap, having my family here and obviously the first NHL point is pretty special to get that out of the way. Obviously, the most important thing is the team win,” Cooley said after the game.
Pregame traditions had Cooley take a helmet-less lap around the ice to get the night started and ended with a productive showing for a Coyotes team that needs his offense.
“Right when I first stepped on the ice, no bucket, you’re a little bit nervous. You don’t want to fall, don’t want to whiff on a puck like that,” Cooley said. “I think once you get that first shift over with you kinda settle in a little bit and the nerves go away and it’s just another hockey game.”
His contributions should help increase the team’s 2.74 goal per game average they slumped to last season, which ranked 27th out of 32 NHL teams.
The two assists also put him in a tie with Chicago Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard who has two points through his first two NHL games. Bedard and Cooley are the two front runners for the Calder Award given to the NHL’s top rookie.
Not to be outdone, Clayton Keller matched Cooley with two assists on the night, setting both of the talented forwards on pace to score 164 points on the season.
While maintaining that output should not be expected, it’s worth noting that Keller’s 86 points registered last season tied for the highest by any Coyotes player since the franchise moved to Arizona in the 1996-97 season.
That number could be in reach for not one, but two Coyotes players this season.