Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Plymouth first-rounder Cooper signs

Vern Cooper, the Plymouth Whalers' first-round pick last May, has signed with the club.

Cooper, a 15-year-old center and native of Sudbury, Ontario, was selected by the Whalers 13th overall.

“We’re excited to have Vern in Plymouth,” Plymouth coach-GM Mike Vellucci said. “He’s a dynamic young player that our fans will enjoy watching for a long time.”

“Cooper has the best set of wheels in the draft,” said Plymouth head scout Jim Debenham at the time of Cooper’s selection. “He’s exciting to watch. Cooper’s a player with speed, skill and hands.”

Cooper, who scored 45 goals and 47 assists for 92 points and 50 penalty minutes for the Sudbury Nickel Capitals in 2005-2006, participated in the Whalers’ Rookie Orientation Camp last May and showed some of the skill Vellucci and Debenham were talking about.

The Central Scouting Service gave the following assessment about Cooper:

"Seems like the 'new' game was implemented just for Vern. A speedy player that is entertaining to watch. Has great anticipation and combined with one-step quickness, intercepts many passes, flies down the wing, the defense gets back peddling, the ice opens up from his speed and then his playing skills or scoring abilities become threats very quickly."

The signing of Cooper, seventh-round pick A.J. Jenks (Wolverine Lake), 2005 draftees Kyle Jendra and Frank Grzeszczak and Import selections Michal Neuvirth, a goaltender, and defenseman Jozef Sladok brings young talent to a Whalers roster that won the West Division title last season with a 35-28-1-4 record.

Photo by Walt Dmoch

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