July 13: Nashville made the contract official today, also announcing that they’ve signed forward Jimmy Huntington to his qualifying offer. Huntington, who Nashville acquired mid-season in a minor swap with the Tampa Bay Lightning, was strong down the stretch with the Milwaukee Admirals, notching 28 points in 43 games across both the regular season and playoffs.
July 12: After receiving a qualifying offer yesterday, Devin Cooley isn’t going to wait around. PuckPedia reports that Cooley will accept the offer, meaning he’ll sign a one-year deal with the Nashville Predators worth $787.5K at the NHL level and $70K in the AHL.
Cooley, 25, was signed as an undrafted goaltender out of the University of Denver in 2020 and has spent the last two years climbing the minor league ladder. Starting in the ECHL with the Florida Everblades, he has since made his move up to the Milwaukee Admirals, where he started 24 games during the regular season. Then, in the playoffs, he took his game to an entirely new level with a .926 save percentage in seven games, likely enough to land him that qualifying offer in the first place.
Standing 6’5″ and with steadily increasing performance, Cooley is an interesting player to follow this season. If his overall AHL numbers go up again, the Predators might have a late-bloomer on their hands with a legitimate NHL future. It’s worth a one-year deal to find out, given he’ll be waiver-exempt again and can go right to the minor leagues.
Notably, a one-year deal will also make Cooley a Group VI unrestricted free agent next summer (unless he somehow gets into 28 games in the NHL), meaning you might see a mid-year extension if he’s doing well for the Admirals.