Higher Upside, Slafkovsky vs. Cooley
Let’s look at the other side of this. A huge reason the Devils, or any team, gets excited about a prospect is because of what they could become. Teams had dreams of the best possible scenario. They hope every player they draft could turn into a superstar. Jesper Bratt was taken in the sixth round, so there’s a proof of concept there, but more often than not it doesn’t work out in the later rounds.
However, with the second-overall pick, the Devils hope this has an incredibly high likelihood of hitting. When looking at these two players and their possibilities, they are completely different. Cooley is often mirrored in a Jack Hughes-type player. Don’t get us wrong. Nobody thinks Cooley can be Hughes. However, he can be built in that mold.
On the other hand, Slafkovsky’s comps have been ALL OVER THE PLACE. You got some saying he could be Alex Ovechkin or Kaapo Kakko. Neither seems particularly fair, but it just shows that analysts have a hard time pinning him down. The rankings are all over the place.
This is clearly sitting on Cooley. He can be a very good player. While Slafkovsky can say the same thing, it seems like real-world comps to Slaf aren’t in the same conversation as Cooley.