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NHL Draft Prospect: Cooper Marody

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The Player

Name: Cooper Marody

Position: Right Wing

2014-2015 team; Muskegon Lumberjacks/Sioux Falls Stampede(USHL)

2014-2015 stats: 52 games, 22 goals, 36 assists, 58 points

Final NHL Central Scouting rank: 53rd among North American skaters

What are his strengths and weaknesses?

Speed is the number one asset Marody brings to the table. Marody is a blazing skater that can stretch the ice and put pressure on the opposing defense. In the offensive zone, he's a smart, patient player that isn't afraid to hold the puck on his stick and wait for a play to develop.

The biggest concern with Marody is a lack of strength. He put on about 15 lbs. of muscle last summer, but that still only got him to about 177 lbs. If he can continue to add a little more mass without sacrificing his terrific speed, he would be more effective on the defensive end of the ice, and potentially a better shooter/goal-scorer rather than a pass-first playmaker.

Is he trending up or down heading into the Draft?

Marody showed a ton of potential in a solid rookie season in the USHL in 2013-2014 which put him on the radar of NHL scouts. But many were hoping to see him transform some of that potential into results this past season. He got off to a slow start to the season in Muskegon, but after requesting a trade, he was sent to Sioux Falls, where he really took off. He averaged 1.28 points per game in the 38 games after the trade(trailing only first round pick and future teammate Kyle Connor in USHL scoring if you extrapolate those numbers out over a full season), and helped the Stampede win the USHL's Clark Cup. So he more or less made the jump from Year 1 to Year 2 in the USHL that scouts were hoping to see.

Where is he projected to go in the Draft?

It seems a stretch to see Marody being selected within the first two rounds of the Draft, but he's got some elite skills and solid upside, so it's hard to imagine him still being available by the end of the fourth round. The third round seems like the most likely destination for him.

How does he project as a pro?

Marody's upside is as a second line winger that is counted on to play a scoring role. Even if he doesn't reach his ceiling, his speed is good enough that he could be an effective player in a third or fourth line role, utilizing his skating ability more than his physicality.

Where will he go next?

Marody was on the edge between returning to Sioux Falls for another season of junior hockey and enrolling at the University of Michigan, but with Dylan Larkin deciding to sign with the Detroit Red Wings and opening up a spot on Michigan's roster, it looks like Marody will be playing for the Wolverines next season. There will definitely be opportunities for Marody to see ice time right away, but a reasonable expectation would be a modest first year in the NCAA with a strong progression in scoring numbers in his second or third season as he develops physically and adjusts to the college game.