Cooley expects to make NHL next season, No. 2 rated skater for 2022 Draft

The 2022 NHL Scouting Combine is taking place this week at the KeyBank Center and HarborCenter in Buffalo. The Combine gives NHL teams the opportunity to conduct interviews, physical and medical exams on top candidates for the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft, which will be held July 7-8 at the Bell Center in Montreal. NHL.com brings you all the sights and sounds.

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BUFFALO — Logan Cooley will play for the University of Minnesota next season.

After that, the forward expects to play for an NHL team.

“I have all the skills and all the qualities to be an influential player in the NHL right now,” Cooley said. “I think it’s just going to come down to my physical aspects of the game, keep getting stronger, fill out my body a little bit more. If I do that, everything will be right and I will make the leap.”

Cooley (5-foot-10, 174 pounds) had 75 points (27 goals, 48 ​​assists) in 51 games for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program under-18 team and 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in six games for the United States at the 2022 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. He is ranked #2 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters for the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft.

As much as Cooley excels at offense, it’s his work ethic and competitiveness that really make him a special player.

“He’s obviously a really gifted skater, but he’s ultra-smart and competitive,” said Adam Nightingale, who coached Cooley for the past two seasons with the NTDP. “If you come here, I think our goal is that we want to develop successful hockey players, and I think that’s Logan. … It’s his play off the puck to defend his readiness. … At the end of the day, when these teams design players, how does Logan do, how do these guys help us win hockey games, and I think Logan does that by playing a 200-foot game.

Lorenz’ self-confidence shines through

A scout who spent time with Rieger Lorenz said the team were so impressed with his confidence during an interview that they promoted him to their internal draft committee.

The 6-2, 184-pound forward can be confident after finishing fifth in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with 85 points (38 goals, 47 assists) in 60 games for Okotoks. He is #17 in Central Scouting’s final rankings of North American skaters.

“I’m pretty confident about myself as a person and as a player,” said Lorenz. “And I think I show that in the way I play and the way I act in these interviews.”

Lorenz believes he’s at his best when he uses his work ethic to hone his skills and shape his game after the Tampa Bay Lightning Alex Killorn.

“His style of play, his behavior and his work ethic alone are the basis of his game,” said Lorenz. “Courage, intensity. That’s what I’m aiming for.”

Lorenz will play at the University of Denver next season, but it might not be long before he’s in the NHL.

“Having a guy that size who can score goals, make plays and bring a physical element would be something that would be very attractive to a lot of teams,” said Central Scouting’s John Williams.

Jets enjoy two first-round picks

The Winnipeg Jets were one of the biggest beneficiaries of the New York Rangers’ reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. A condition of trade that is passed on Andrew Copp to the Rangers on March 21 was that Winnipeg would receive New York’s first-round draft pick in the 2022 draft if it made the conference finals.

“We’re very pleased, obviously with the draft here, that we managed to win a second first-round pick,” said Kevin Cheveldayoff, Jets general manager. “And that puts a lot of emphasis on this week [Scouting Combine] and making sure decisions are made to strengthen things for the future.”

The Jets will pick between 29 and 32 depending on the trade condition, depending on what happens in the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals. You also have pick #14.

It’s the first time the Jets have had two first-round picks since 2016 when they went forward patrick laine (No. 2) and defender LoganStanley (No. 18).

Medical tests are ongoing

All 85 prospective combine harvesters underwent medical tests Wednesday to assess their general health and determine if they would be eligible to participate in the fitness tests beginning Friday.

“Before coming to the combine, all players are required to fill out a medical history form, talk about past injuries and their health at the time,” said Central Scouting senior manager David Gregory. “Once we have that, they are all to go to a medical facility and undergo a full physical.

“It does a few things. It allows doctors to talk about the previous injuries and see where they are and determine if they are healthy enough to be tested at this event. Over the years we’ve seen different things come up and players have been held back as a precaution.”

TPS forward Juraj Slafkovsky and Nitra defender Simon Nemec will not take part in the physical tests, having just finished their participation in the 2022 IIHF World Championship. Hermantown (Minnesota) High School defense attorney Zam Plante will not have upper body tests because of a recent shoulder surgery. Gregory said the results of the medical tests will determine if Plante can perform any of the lower body exercises without risking an injury to his shoulder.

The data from the medical examinations are stored in a central database to which all 32 teams have access.

“Medical coverage allows teams to have another point where they can value players and decide if that player has something that we want to avoid and not collect because that’s exactly how they feel about his health or not ‘ said Gregory.

NHL.com contributor Mike Zeisberger contributed to this report

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