“I’m happy to be here,” Cooper Marody excited for Flyers return and Phantoms playoff push

Cooper Marody, Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Bob Rotruck)
Cooper Marody, Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Bob Rotruck) /

Cooper Marody didn’t have an opportunity to join the Flyers organization after finishing up at Michigan. Drafted in the sixth round in 2015, his rights were traded to the Edmonton Oilers. At the time, Philadelphia was loaded with forwards and it didn’t seem as if Marody’s upside was enough to use a contract spot on him.

After a breakout junior season at Michigan, he would end up signing his entry-level contract with the Oilers. It was there that he learned and developed under then-head coach Jay Woodcraft and the Bakersfield Condors. Marody credits Woodcraft as one of the people who have helped him develop into the player and person he is to this day.

He got the opportunity to make his NHL debut, appearing in seven games and grabbing his first NHL point via an assist. Marody would have liked to be given more of an opportunity to play in the NHL, but he was more than excited to come back to the Flyers organization.

"“Things didn’t work out originally when I was drafted coming out of college. Edmonton was really interested and wanted me. I had a great experience there, met a lot of great people who helped me become the player and person I am today. But I am happy to be back here.”"

As a player, Marody said you are aware of certain situations when it comes to being traded before even signing with the team that drafted you. He was also aware of the interest that the Flyers had this past offseason. He was happy to know they did have that interest in bringing him in.

Coming into training camp, any player wants to make an impression on the team. Marody was hurt early on in the preseason and didn’t have the opportunity to do that. He’s also spent some time off the ice with injuries in the AHL as well.

"”It’s been an adversity filled year but I’m feeling really good now and healthy. Helping the team win the best I can and it’s been really fun around here lately, especially.”"

Despite battling injuries, Marody has had a productive season for the Phantoms. He has posted 38 points, fifth on the team, in 44 games. He has also tallied 14 goals as well. He has 17 points in his last nine games, though he missed some games in between that streak.

The fun Marody spoke about comes with the Phantoms having clinched their first playoff berth since 2018. The excitement amongst the team and the fan base has been obvious to see. Spend a day at a Phantoms practice these days and you can see just how much fun they are having.

And the players can sense how much this fanbase is behind them right now. It’s a group that has shown its support time and time again for this team. They’ve been playing meaningful hockey games for almost the entire season. It’s something that will help them once they get to the postseason.

"“The whole year we didn’t really know if we were gonna be in or out. We kind of controlled our own destiny with winning and just hopped up the standings and we have to continue to do that. I think it will really help us in the playoffs because, throughout the entirity of the regular season, every game really, really mattered.”“We did struggle a little early on, we had some adverstiy that I alluded to. I think that really builds character amongst each player and amongst the team. It helps us build good habits.”"

Marody mentioned a particular meeting a few months ago in which Artem Anisimov spoke to the team about playing playoff-like hockey and having those types of habits. The Phantoms used that message throughout the season in order to make the run that they have been on.

A player like Anisimov, who has had a lengthy career in the NHL, is someone the Phantoms can lean on in these situations. He has been a leader both on and off the ice after making the decision to sign on for the rest of the season after his conditioning assignment ended. He could have gone back home and decided it wasn’t worth it. But he stayed and has been an important member of a young Phantoms team.

Next on the agenda for the Phantoms is home-ice advantage. With the way the fanbase has been behind them all season long, having that could do wonders for this team. They would certainly love to give that to them.

"“Our fans are amazing. They’re loud, they’re here early, showing up for warmups. They’re just so excited for us to play. I guess it has been quite a few years since they’ve been in and we are so happy to play hard in front of them.”"

There are three games remaining on the schedule to make that happen. They’ll face Bridgeport, Charlotte, and Hershey to finish up their season. They hold the fourth spot in the Atlantic Division, needing to be the third seed to have the home-ice.

They’ll have to take care of business in this last stretch to make it happen. The Flyers organization would love to see this group not only make that happen, but find a way to make that long run.