Devin Cooley's first career win is a major moment for the San Jose Sharks organization

Apr 6, 2024; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks goaltender Devin Cooley (1) waits for play
Apr 6, 2024; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks goaltender Devin Cooley (1) waits for play / Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Devin Cooley's NHL story has not only been a great trial, but it has also brought a much-needed feel-good factor to the Sharks this season. His first NHL win, a momentous occasion, came against the St. Louis Blues on April 6th. This victory, sealed by a William Eklund hat trick, not only marked the sweep of the season series against the Blues but also made Cooley the third different Sharks netminder to defeat the Blues. The Sharks have been basking in the joy and pride of witnessing the Los Gatos native's first career win.

Cooley's journey from the junior Sharks to the NHL is a testament to his perseverance and dedication. Starting as a kid, he honed his skills in the U14s, U16s, and U18 programs before venturing into the USHL. He then navigated through the BCHL and NAHL, showcasing his talent and resilience. His journey continued to the NCAA and the University of Denver, where he had some stellar seasons, including a year when he played 20 games and achieved a remarkable .934 save percentage. Despite the challenges, he remained a solid player for Denver until his graduation in 2020, marking the beginning of his AHL career.


He would go East from Denver to Chicago as the Wolves employed him. He only played two games, putting up a .895 save percentage. He spent most of that year with the Florida Everblades, where he tallied a .911 save percentage in 22 games. The following year, he got a little more action in the AHL as he played 24 games with the Milwaukee Admirals, the Nashville Predators affiliate. With a .898 save percentage, it wasn't great, but better.

Last season, he played exclusively with the Admirals, putting up a .909 save percentage in 26 games. That's good enough to keep a job in the league, so the Buffalo Sabres took a chance on him and sent him to its affiliate in Rochester, New York. In 14 games with the Americans, he put up a .891 save percentage and didn't get going, but he got a call-up for the Sabres. Cooley didn't play but got some experience. His problem was that he was probably the fourth-stringer there and wouldn't get the nod.

At the deadline, the Sharks traded Kaapo Kahkonen to the Devils for Vitek Vanacek and a pick, but Vanacek is out for the year. So, the Sharks needed another netminder with Blackwood hurt, so they looked at the former junior Shark in Devin Cooley and decided to give him a chance. He almost gets his first career win against the Chicago Blackhawks before the Sharks defense collapses, but he got that tonight instead.

Now, let's be nice and not look at Cooley's stats as a Sharks because the truth is none of the goaltenders the team in Teal has used this year get a lot of help defensively. It's been a tough season for the defense, but this was needed. A win in the iconic teal jersey for a homegrown talent like Cooley is something few fan bases experience. The organization can celebrate it, proving that hockey is better for having the Sharks in the Bay Area. That was a significant question when hockey came back to California. It's a great day for all of us.