NHL Notebook: Arizona Coyotes sign top-prospect Logan Cooley and eight active players who made immediate impacts in the NHL following their draft years

Photo credit:Kelsey Grant / Arizona Coyotes
Aleena Aksenchuk
11 months ago
The Arizona Coyotes signed 2022 third overall draft pick Logan Cooley to a three-year entry-level deal on Thursday.
Last season, the forward polished off an impressive freshman season at the University of Minnesota with the Golden Gophers. He became the team’s top performer scoring 22 goals and 60 points, leading the Golden Gophers to an NCAA National Championship Final and being named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award presented to the nation’s top men’s ice hockey player.
After losing the National Championship Final to the Quinnipiac Bobcats, Cooley spoke about having unfinished business back with the team and wanting to come back to win the title once and for all; it was also reported the Coyotes failed bid to build a new arena also played an influence in his decision. In May, Cooley’s return to Minnesota was announced on the Golden Gophers’ social media pages; three months later, he’s ultimately decided to change courses.
While admits a rebuild, the signing of Cooley is excellent news as it provides them with a top-six centre to their already improving roster with the helpful additions of defenceman Tory Stecher and forward Jason Zucker, amongst others.
Here’s more on Arizona’s most recent signing from Daily Faceoff‘s Mike Gould:
Adam Fantilli was the only other NCAA player to score at least 60 points in the 2022–23 season. Cooley, Fantilli, and Matthew Knies were named the three Hobey Baker “Hat Trick” finalists, with Fantilli — the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft — being crowned the winner.
Cooley figures to be a centerpiece of the new-look Coyotes core that also includes Clayton Keller, Matias Maccelli, Dylan Guenther, Dmitri Simashev, and J.J. Moser. The Coyotes selected Simashev and Daniil But with the No. 6 and 12 picks in the 2023 NHL Draft.


Eight active players who made immediate impacts in the NHL following their draft years

The NHL Draft is always an exciting time of the year. For some, it’s the beginning of a long and successful career, and for certain players, that dream comes true just a few months after having their name called on the big stage.
The season is quickly approaching, which means Chicago Blackhawks phenom Connor Bedard and Columbus Blue Jackets Adam Fantilli are set to make their NHL debut.
Bedard, whom all hockey fans know at this point, was this years first overall pick selected by the Blackhawks. The forward scored a spectacular 71 goals and 143 points in the 2022-23 campaign with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League and received the CHL David Branch Player of the Year award.
Fantilli was selected by the Blue Jackets as the third overall pick this year. He also had an impressive 2022-23 campaign scoring 30 goals and 65 points with the University of Michigan Wolverines capturing three outstanding awards: the Tim Taylor Trophy for NCAA’s Top Collegiate Player, Top Collegiate rookie and the prestigious Hobey Baker Award.
With first-round selections who are expected to crack a roster spot in their first year of play, there’s plenty of curiosity about what kind of performance they’ll showcase in their freshman years directly following their draft year.
While this year, all the excitement is around two exceptional players, there’s been plenty of draft picks that have made impressive first impressions. Daily Faceoff’s Colton Davies looked back on eight active players who had impactful seasons following their draft year, and the list is remarkable.
Here’s a look at a few of the eight active players who made immediate impacts in the NHL following their draft years:

Alex Ovechkin, 1st overall, 2004 (Washington Capitals)

Ovechkin didn’t technically jump to the NHL in his draft year. But had there not been a lockout during the 2004-05 NHL season, he would have done so and played in a separate rookie class from Sidney Crosby. Ovechkin had to wait a year to make his NHL debut.

Sidney Crosby, 1st overall, 2005 (Pittsburgh Penguins)

Crosby entered the league with enormous hype and expectations after torching the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), notching 66 goals and 102 assists in 62 games with the Rimouski Oceanic. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation, Crosby lived up to the anticipation and proved his exceptional talent on the ice. During his rookie season, Crosby appeared in 81 games and quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with, finishing the season with 39 goals and 63 assists for 102 points.

Patrick Kane, 1st overall, 2007 (Chicago Blackhawks)

We started the list with the future of the Blackhawks; let us end it with a player who profoundly impacted the city of Chicago.

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