Cooper Marody

Cooper Marody and Brendan Warren, a 'Go Blue' bond united with Flyers

Cooper Marody and Brendan Warren, a 'Go Blue' bond united with Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — Brendan Warren never expected the phone call.

It was a late Friday night in mid-June. Coyotes development camp was 10 days away, so Warren had been training in preparation. The Michigan product had plans for Fourth of July, too, to follow the annual summer visit with his NHL organization.

Then his phone buzzed.

"I was shocked," he said. "It just came out of nowhere, 9:30 one night."

Warren had been traded.

"They said I'd be going to the Flyers," he said.

Arizona sent Warren and a 2018 fifth-round draft pick to the Flyers in exchange for Nick Cousins and goalie prospect Merrick Madsen. Warren, who just turned 20 years old in May and finished up his sophomore year at Michigan, had a lot change in a matter of minutes. He started texting his friends and classmates the news.

The first one to respond: Cooper Marody, Michigan teammate and Flyers prospect.

"I was actually leaving a Sam Hunt concert and I saw the text there, and I called Brendan right away and we talked for a while," Marody said. "We were both pretty pumped about it."

When Warren heard he was headed to the Flyers, Marody came right to mind. The thought of having his support in a different setting allowed for some comfort to seep in amid the emotions of being traded. Starting over — and suddenly — isn't fun, but having a friend helps.

"I was really happy," Warren said of joining Marody. "He was really excited for me.

"The more I thought about it and the more I talked to my adviser and my family, everyone said it was such a great thing for me. So I got really excited about being a part of an organization like the Flyers."


Cooper Marody and Brendan Warren (CSNPhilly.com)

There Warren was, his nameplate above a locker at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, right next to much-anticipated No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick. This was not only development camp, but also Warren's orientation. He was meeting a whole new organization, a band of new prospects from all parts of the world.

Reassuringly, across the dressing room was a familiar face in Marody.

"I'm glad that I can be here with him and hang around him for camp," Warren said during the Flyers' July 7-12 development session.

Marody liked the company, too.

"We're excited to be here together," Marody said. "It's a little easier going to these camps knowing somebody so well like Brendan."

As 20-year-olds with a lot in common, Warren and Marody have grown close. Both are natives of Michigan and became Wolverines in 2015 — the same year they were drafted, Warren in the third round by the Coyotes, Marody in the sixth by the Flyers. The forwards made immediate impacts in their freshman seasons, as Michigan went on to win the Big Ten championship and advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I men's ice hockey championship, where it bowed out to eventual title winner North Dakota.

"They're different players, but what is unique about them, I think they have a very strong connection," Michigan assistant coach Brian Wiseman said last week in a phone interview with CSNPhilly.com. "They're both very likable kids, they're great teammates, they care and they work hard. I think we had them playing together, oh man, a large majority of their careers, at least their first year and well into maybe their second year. I think Cooper and Brendan might have played every game together as a freshman."

Playing exclusively on the same line, Warren and Marody jelled and left an imprint. Warren appeared in all 38 games and finished with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists), including a three-assist game against Niagara. Marody put up 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in 32 games, finishing second among Michigan freshmen in scoring to only Kyle Connor, a Hobey Baker Award finalist and now Winnipeg Jet.

"Both our freshman seasons, we played together and did very well, did well for our team and developed a lot of good chemistry," Marody said, "so I think we can definitely take that here [to the Flyers]."

Last season, Michigan was hit hard by departures and suffered a down year, going 13-19-3 overall and 6-12-2 in the Big Ten. Warren collected 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 35 games, while Marody scored three of his five goals in a hat trick against rival Ohio State, but played only 18 games (15 points) because of academic ineligibility, a setback that may have resulted from a sickness.

Wiseman and the Wolverines are optimistic for 2017-18, expecting jumps from both Warren and Marody as they become upperclassmen. Wiseman, who played for Michigan and has been an assistant since 2011, said Warren was a goal scorer when recruited by the Wolverines and believes that is still coming at the college level.

"Tremendous skater, high compete level, his motor is nonstop, with the ability to score," Wiseman said. "Brendan's skating ability allows him to be effective in any type of game.

"He didn't score much in the last year and a half for us. I think there's still a goal scorer in there, I know there is a goal scorer because he's got a tremendous release and he works at it often. So we're looking for that growth in that part of his game, the offensive side of the game. … He's one of our top penalty-kill unit guys.

"Brendan Warren has invested the time to be a really good hockey player. For that, I am really encouraged what this year may hold for him."

Marody is a key cog to Michigan's power play — which was tops in the country in 2015-16 — and "leads the charge offensively," Wiseman said, as far as puck possession and playing down the middle.

"Cooper is a very smart, highly intelligent hockey player, has a gift of slowing down the game, reading situations and making high-level, executed plays," Wiseman said. 

"Some of the things he can do with the puck, engaging teammates by the way he sees the ice and distributes pucks into spaces is an exceptional skill he has."

Wiseman said Michigan saw "rapid" growth from Marody in the USHL.

"I expect that type of growth at the next stop as he makes his way through Michigan and into the pro hockey route," Wiseman said.

There's still work for both as Wolverines.

"As they move along in their careers," Wiseman said, "we have some things to improve on in their individual games."


Brendan Warren and Cooper Marody (Michigan Athletics)

Wiseman's engagement with the Flyers will probably kick up a notch.

The Flyers are in constant communication with Michigan throughout the season, tracking the development of Marody. Ann Arbor, Michigan, should be a popular destination spot for the Flyers' brass now with Warren in the fold, as well.

"They'll come up to a lot of our games, send us clips of highlights of NHL plays that we can do or work on, or just little things like that," Marody said. "Ask us how we're doing, if we need any advice or anything like that. If they come out and watch us, we'll talk to them after the game and they'll let us know how we're doing."

Both Michigan and the Flyers have a rooted interest in the players, but the end goal is the same, Wiseman said.

"What we want with Cooper and Brendan now is to be a great player for the University of Michigan and to prepare them the best we can to hopefully be a Philadelphia Flyer one day," Wiseman said. "And that's [the Flyers'] goal in place, too."

Wiseman has built a relationship with Flyers development coach John Riley, the Wolverines' primary contact during a busy season. Michigan understands the importance of preparing its student-athletes for competition presently, as well as in the future.

"Like other teams and organizations, the director of player development usually goes to us," Wiseman said. "So John Riley and I, we speak often to develop Cooper within the last two years since being drafted, some of the things that they see and acknowledge in conversations, and we have the same thing. We're around the kids more on a daily basis, so we just want to make sure we're all on the same page in this development path — that's the goal."


Cooper Marody and Brendan Warren (Michigan Athletics/CSNPhilly.com)

Warren's first contact with the Flyers came as he was processing the news on the night of the trade. He heard from Riley and general manager Ron Hextall — a quick introduction and run-through of the protocol, and then back to work for Warren.

"Right after I got the call from Arizona that night, Mr. Hextall called me and said welcome, we're excited to have you," Warren said. "He then told me when camp was and what to expect a little bit. And then I got a call from John Riley, the player development coach, and he just kind of went over the same stuff. He said he's going to be my resource throughout the year and then said see you at camp."

So Warren scratched his Fourth of July plans and instead trained through the holiday and right up to the new date of his summer development camp.

"That's hockey, though," Marody said. "It's no problem."

"Absolutely," Warren said.

Wiseman expressed the same message. As an assistant coach at the Division I level, his players are not only student-athletes but also NHL prospects. Wiseman is involved for guidance and support in situations such as Warren's this summer.

"I wanted to let him process it, so I reached out to him the next day just to explain, 'Hey, this is what pro hockey is about — some of these things do happen,'" Wiseman said. "Because I know that he's been dialed in with the Arizona Coyotes since he was 18. This is the aspect of pro hockey that sometimes we may not like, but it's reality. But he was excited about the opportunity.

"I didn't sense any disappointment or have to pick and cheer up the kid. He understood that this is what it is and he was ready to go forward."

Did Marody give Warren a Flyers introduction?

"Not really," Marody said. "I think a lot of it speaks for itself. It's obviously a huge, big-time organization with tons of history. We both know it's a tremendous honor to be prospects here and we're just looking forward to the future."

At development camp, Warren and Marody made for obvious roommates, which was actually somewhat fresh because they don't live together at Michigan.

"We see plenty of each other, we don't need to room together," Marody said with a laugh.

The "Go Blue" boys enjoyed the experience together — and hope it's the first of more to come.

"It's like you grow together with these experiences," Warren said, "and hopefully one day we're both here playing for the Flyers.

"That's the main goal."

Taking the road from Ann Arbor to Philadelphia.

"Being here, it's very inspiring for both of us I think," Marody said. "We both believe that we can do it and that we'll be up here someday."

Wiseman sees the potential behind it all.

"There's still some growth in these two kids, but they have a tremendous foundation to be really good players," Wiseman said. "And not only for us, but I think to make the Philly people, the Flyers' organization and some of your fan support really interested in the prospects."

Future Flyers Report: German Rubtsov avoids scare; Philippe Myers ‘getting close’

Future Flyers Report: German Rubtsov avoids scare; Philippe Myers ‘getting close’

Before this week begins, it's time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

In this week’s report, we check in on the health of two of the orange and black’s top prospects, and highlight a pair of Big Ten prospects squaring off. Let’s dig in.

German Rubtsov, C, 6-0/190, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
Rubtsov escaped a scare last Thursday, when he slid hard into the boards after being brought down on a breakaway by a Rouyn-Noranda defensemen Zachary Lauzon and Bruno-Carl Denis, injuring his left knee. After the game, Rubtsov was on crutches, awaiting further examination. According to Le Quotidien’s Dave Ainsley, there is no fracture and he is considered day to day. He did not play in Chicoutimi’s 4-3 win over Rimouski last Friday. The Saguenéens will have six days off between the Rimouski game and their next game, Thursday against Val-d’Or, so it’s plausible for Rubtsov to not miss any more time.

Before the injury, Rubtsov’s QMJHL career continued its torrid pace. Last Tuesday, Rubtsov deposited a juicy rebound into an empty net during Chicoutimi’s 3-2 win over Drummondville. It was his third goal and ninth point in his sixth game since coming over from Russia, and he’s been held pointless in just two games playing in the Q.

Philippe Myers, D, 6-5/209, Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
Myers, who has not played since the world juniors because of a concussion, was spotted in the Wells Fargo Center press box last Thursday night during the Flyers’ 3-1 win over the Canadiens. When asked about Myers’ health last Friday at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, general manager Ron Hextall said “he’s doing good” and believes “he’s getting close.” According to Hextall, Myers has been skating with the Huskies. Rouyn-Noranda has two games this week, so it’s possible Myers could return Thursday or Friday night.

Cooper Marody, C, 6-0/178, Michigan (NCAA)
It’s been a trying sophomore season for Marody, having been ruled academically ineligible for the first semester. But, the 20-year-old finally cracked through in the goal column last weekend, registering a hat trick in under 10 minutes of Michigan’s 5-4 win over No. 11 Ohio State on Friday night. It was the Wolverines’ first hat trick since Hobey Baker Award runner-up Kyle Connor potted four markers against Penn State last season’s Big Ten Tournament, and Michigan’s first natural hat trick since J.T. Compher’s on March 7, 2015, also against PSU. It was also Marody’s first career multi-goal game and first career hat trick.

Marody compiled his hat trick in nine minutes and 17 seconds in the second period that sent Michigan into the second intermission up, 5-1, on the Buckeyes. His first goal at 6:47 displayed tremendous shiftiness and stick work before ripping off a wrister past OSU goalie Christian Frey. The second goal, at 10:51 on a power play, Marody pounced on a rebound, poking it past Frey to put Michigan up, 4-1. He completed the trick at 16:04 again on a power play, beating Frey from the right with a wrister after setting up Michigan’s umbrella.

"I think adversity just makes you stronger," Marody told mgoblue.com. "It's important to learn from any adversity you have and try to move forward. So, it's good that the team got a good win tonight, and we're hoping we can continue it, and I think we can."

On Saturday night, Marody followed his hat trick up with another goal, another impressive individual effort and wrister, and two assists in Michigan’s 6-5 loss to Ohio State.

Tanner Laczynski, C, 6-1/191, Ohio State (NCAA)
After coming down to earth following the world juniors, Laczynski snapped a four-game goal drought and a three-game pointless skid Friday night in OSU’s 5-4 loss to Michigan. With the Buckeyes trailing, 3-0, in the second period and Ohio State on a power play, Laczynski banked a shot off Michigan goalie Hayden Lavigne into the net for his seventh goal of the season. Lavigne lost track of the puck, believing the puck was in the corner behind him and Laczynski took the opportunity to throw it at net. He moved up to the third line for Saturday’s contest with the Wolverines, and picked up a secondary assist.

Oskar Lindblom, LW, 6-1/192, Brynäs IF (SHL)
It’s been awhile since we’ve highlighted Lindblom, the 20-year-old Swedish sensation tearing apart the SHL, but here we go. Lindblom again turned in another monster week for Brynäs IF, ripping off three more goals and pushing his point total to a team-leading 37. On Tuesday, Lindblom netted his 14th goal of the season in a 6-2 Brynäs loss to Skellefteå, punching in a rebound, and on Thursday, he led a comeback charge in a 5-4 shootout win over Lulea with two goals and the shootout winner. He opened the scoring for Brynäs with a tap-in goal off his own pass, and then scored the game-tying goal in the third with a wicked wrist shot. He’s now at 16 goals and 37 points, fourth in the SHL, in 41 games.

Lindblom is still without an entry-level contract, but it is only a matter of time before Hextall inks the winger to one — most likely after the SHL season comes to an end. As was the case last year, Lindblom could sign another amateur tryout contract and finish out the AHL season with the Phantoms, but with the depth in Lehigh Valley, the team may hold off on that option. But, it’s a safe bet that Lindblom will push hard for a spot on the Flyers next season, and it’s realistic in saying that he has a legitimate shot. Early bet here is he makes it.

Quick hits
• Flyers team president Paul Holmgren told the Courier-Post’s Dave Isaac last Friday at the PSWA dinner the Phantoms have “six or seven guys I promise you’ll see in a year or two.”

• Phantoms defensive partners Sam Morin and Travis Sanheim scooped up an assist each in Lehigh Valley’s 4-3 win over Albany Friday night. They were pointless and a combined minus-5 in the Phantoms’ 7-1 blowout loss Saturday against Wilkes/Barre Scranton.

Anthony Stolarz had a disastrous outing Saturday against the Penguins, yielding seven goals on 32 shots. His goals-against average is now up to 2.75 with a .911 save percentage.

• Western Michigan’s Wade Allison catapulted himself atop the Broncos’ scoring list with a goal and three assists last weekend. Allison recorded three helpers in No. 9 WMU’s 4-2 win over Arizona State on Friday, and then followed it up with a goal on Saturday against ASU. Allison leads the Broncos with 23 points in 26 games, and is currently on a four-game point streak, collecting five points along the way. He also has 14 points in his last 13 games.

Pascal Laberge had a three-goal week for Victoriaville, scoring once in the Tigres’ 6-2 win over Drummondville Thursday and twice in their 7-2 win over Sherbrooke Saturday.

• Saint John’s Samuel Dove-McFalls added a four-point week for the Sea Dogs. On Friday in a 7-4 win over Halifax, Dove-McFalls registered a goal and an assist, and then followed that up with a goal Saturday in a 7-0 rout of Cape Breton. Dove-McFalls is riding a four-game point streak, picking up three goals and two assists during that span.

• A rough week for Everett goalie Carter Hart, who allowed nine goals in four games — three losses and was pulled twice. He did, however, rebound with his seventh shutout on the season on Saturday night, turning away 21 shots in a 1-0 win over Vancouver.

• With two more assists, Carsen Twarynski now has five points — all assists — in nine games with the Rockets since Calgary traded him to Kelowna.