Even though it is early in the 2021-2022 regular season in the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins appear to be not as good as advertised. They have had to deal with injuries and COVID-19, but there is still a lot of games to play.
With Pittsburgh being in an extremely difficult Metropolitan Division, they don’t have a lot of room for error. The Penguins are currently in seventh place with a 5-5-4 record with 14 points so far this season in the Metro. If the season ended today, they would be out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2005-2006 season.
All good things come to an end at some point. Pittsburgh has not drafted much in the first round recently. They would currently draft 10th if the season ended today. The Penguins aren’t bad enough to get into the top five this year, but fortunately for them, the 2022 NHL Draft class is really deep.
One of the potential targets I saw on an NHL Mock Draft the other day for the Pittsburgh Penguins was Logan Cooley, who is currently a centerman for the USNTDP.
It is very possible he is going to climb up draft boards and it is also very possible that the Penguins can climb up the rankings in the standings. But let’s hypothetically speak this into existence just for now.
According to a scouting report on EPRinkside.com in 2021, “A strong two-way forward with good numbers in the face-off circle.” Logan Cooley has all of the tools to be a future number one centerman and franchise-changing player. He is only 17 years old and is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Logan Cooley I am sure has been on Pittsburgh Penguins scouts radars for probably the past few years. He is 5’10” and weighs 179 lbs. Logan Cooley has committed to play next year at the University of Notre Dame. He will have more time to polish his game at the collegiate level before going to the AHL and potentially the NHL.
He has played for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 14u, 15u, and 16u teams. Logan Cooley is currently playing for the U.S. National U18 Team and also USNTDP Juniors Team. In 15 games with the U18 team, he has recorded 11 assists and has scored nine goals. His plus/minus is 12. In five games played in the USHL, he has scored two goals and has recorded four assists. Cooley’s plus/minus is 1.
Logan Cooley would be an ideal prospect for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the immediate future because they don’t have a strong cupboard of young prospects. Pittsburgh needs their future stars of tomorrow. He would also be a solid leader on and off the ice.
This is a cool idea to think about, but by the time the spring rolls around, I don’t think this is going to be a realistic idea. General manager Ron Hextall/ president of hockey operations Brian Burke need to hang onto their first-round and potentially acquire more draft capital if they are out of it.
Players like Bryan Rust, Kasperi Kapanen, Brian Dumoulin, and a few others may be traded at the trade deadline to start a rebuild if needed. Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, Tristan Jarry, and Kris Letang should be the only untouchables and some people think Jake Guentzel should be untouchable also.
Head coach Mike Sullivan needs to right the ship if the Pittsburgh Penguins are going to make the playoffs this season. Sullivan is the best coach in Pittsburgh history. If he is still around coaching this hockey team for the future of stars for the Pittsburgh Penguins then great. If not, then oh well.
Logan Cooley playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins would potentially be a dream come true for him. However, he probably doesn’t care where he lands as long as it is with any franchise. Pittsburgh would love to draft a player caliber like Logan Cooley, but their goal is to try and win one more Stanley Cup Title in the Crosby/Malkin/Letang era.
This will not be the first time this year that I will be potentially reading and writing potential scouting reports for potential Pittsburgh Penguins draft prospects for 2022 because there is a legit chance they miss the playoffs this year. It may be a reality at some point building for the future might be a necessity for this franchise in order to restore its glory once again.
-Glenn Kaplan, 12oz Sports Contributor, Live Monday’s at 3 p.m. ET & Thursday at 11 a.m. ET on 12oz Sports
Photo Credit: Twitter @penguins