The Arizona Coyotes are going to be a punchline around the National Hockey League this season due to the fact that they'll be playing in a collegiate rink; they had played the previous 18 years at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. before complications with their lease on the arena as well as the city government necessitated their departure.
Of course, there was also the fact that the Coyotes were among the worst squads in hockey last season, and it certainly doesn't appear as though it will be getting better any time soon. However, one silver lining of their miserable campaign was their having landed the 3rd overall selection in the 2022 NHL Draft, which they used to select American forward Logan Cooley; he scored 27 goals and 48 assists while playing for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team last season.
However, the Coyotes won't be seeing Cooley play for them this season - at least, right away. Cooley announced his intention to play for the University of Minnesota, during which he'll be preparing himself for his eventual leap to the big club.
"I just think how hard it is to crack the lineup in the NHL, how hard guys go and how much stronger I need to get too," Cooley said. "A year in college could really help. Just keep developing, and then I think I'll be ready."
Until then, he's understandably feeling good about being selected by a professional club - even if they're the punchline of everyone else's jokes.
"Obviously being drafted, especially a top-five pick, is pretty surreal, something that I've been dreaming of," Cooley said of being drafted into the NHL. "But to have that moment with my family in Montreal, it was pretty special."
According to Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong, Cooley has all the tools to be something special.
"He is exactly what we need, and he's got a chance to be a No. 1 center in the National Hockey League," Armstrong said at the Draft.