Better Fit, Slafkovsky vs. Cooley
This one might seem a little obvious when it comes to the New Jersey Devils, but maybe not. Logan Cooley might be slotted as a center right now, and the Devils did ask Slafkovsky if he could play center, but both players likely have the ability to be flexible. It is pretty clear that it would be easier to move Cooley to the wing than it would be to move Slafkovsky to center, but both are at least possible.
Slafkovsky is a big-bodied wing, something the Devils desperately need. In fact, the Devils’ needs are as follows: goalie, then a backup goalie, then a top-six winger, and then right-handed defensive depth. Slafkovsky is the obvious choice when it comes to fitting the Devils’ need, but Cooley can fit it as well. If he hits his ceiling, his scoring would be a necessity for the Devils in the top six.
Meanwhile, Slafkovsky feels like he is close to jumping into the NHL. Cooley is heading to the University of Minnesota. That seems like a pretty good bet, while Slafkovsky’s goal is to make the NHL now. He had an interesting year in Liiga, so it’s not entirely surprising he wants to head to North America right away.
Cooley could easily fit into what the Devils want to do. If the Devils want to continue with the “Dawson Mercer” at wing experiment, then Cooley would eventually be their third-line center. It’s not a bad thing to have too much of a good thing, but it would come at the expense of a thing they need. They need someone with size on the wing like Slafkovsky. He would be the better fit.