Coyotes’ Cooley to Make Decision Between NCAA & Going Pro

The 2022-23 NHL regular season comes to a conclusion this week. While 16 teams will start preparations in the hopes of a deep playoff run, the other 16 will start to address their future. The Arizona Coyotes, who have just two games remaining concluding their season this Thursday, April 13 against the Vancouver Canucks, will look to finish the season strong and set their focus on signing top prospect Logan Cooley.

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The Coyotes’ third overall selection in the 2022 NHL Draft is coming off a spectacular season with the University of Minnesota, in which he recorded 60 points on 22 goals and 38 assists in 39 games en route to a national championship loss this past weekend to Quinnipiac University in overtime. All eyes now turn toward the Coyotes prospect who has a decision to make on his future.

Cooley’s Spectacular Season With the Golden Gophers

Cooley’s time with the U.S. National Development Program earned him a lot of praise coming into the season. Named one of the top preseason players in college hockey, he was eager to stand out among the rest, and he did just that. Playing on a line with fellow teammates St. Louis Blues prospect Jimmy Snuggerud and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Matthew Knies, he set himself among the top of the NCAA hockey world, with the likes of University of Michigan 2023 Draft-eligible prospect Adam Fantilli, this year’s Hobey Baker Award winner.

Logan Cooley University of Minnesota
Logan Cooley, University of Minnesota (University of Minnesota Athletics)

Unfortunately for him and the Golden Gophers, he walked away from this season not only without the Hobey Baker Award but also without a championship. Arguably the best forward and player this season in Division I hockey, Cooley found himself on the outside looking in on two of the biggest moments of his college career. Despite the disappointment, he finished the year with a highlight-reel of spectacular plays, including pulling off the famous “Michigan” style goal coincidently enough against Arizona State University at Mullett Arena, the same arena the Coyotes temporarily play in.

Cooley Making His Case for the NHL

One thing was for certain this past season, Cooley has proven he’s ready to make the jump to the NHL. He’s shown he has the skill set and the hockey IQ to play among the league’s top stars. Named as a first-team All-American in his freshman season, he has seemingly checked off most, if not all, of the boxes in just his first season. This has prompted the question of whether or not he should take his skills to the next level.

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While many believe he’s set to sign with the Coyotes before the season ends, there are skeptics out there that think he will stay another year at the University of Minnesota in the hopes of capturing the Hobey Baker Award and winning a national championship, two things he fell just short of and was unable to check off his to-do list.

What Will the Ultimate Decision Be?

One doesn’t need to sit here and vouch for Cooley to make the jump to the NHL. Just look at his accomplishments, achievements, accolades, and highlights from this past season. He’s done more than enough to warrant the decision if he decides to sign with the Coyotes. On the other hand, he’s coming off a heartbreaking loss in the biggest game of the NCAA season. Right now his mind isn’t focused on the future, and that’s understandable.

Logan Cooley University of Minnesota
Logan Cooley, University of Minnesota (University of Minnesota Athletics)

We don’t know what his decision will be. That’s for him to make, and he has all the time in the world to decide. Nevertheless, there’s no denying he’s going to be a part of the next era of Coyotes hockey along with some other great prospects. The future of the organization is bright, and whether we see Cooley before Thursday’s season finale or not, his time in a kachina sweater is just on the horizon.