Thursday, 17 October 2013

Will Patrice Cormier ever arrive?

With the news of the recall of Patrice Cormier from the minors, it got me to thinking about the 2008 draft where he was picked in the second round, 54th overall by the New Jersey Devils. After five years, you have either arrived as a prospect, or you haven't. The only exception to that rule is goalies and maybe the odd defensemen who decided to go the NCAA route. Safe to say Cormier hasn't developed into a full fledged NHL'er and maybe never will. 

The first round of the 2008 draft will always belong to Steven Stamkos, who was picked number 1 and has covered the bet as a top flight player. The draft though featured several high end defenseman who have won and will win more several individual awards. That list includes Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian, Alex Pietrangelo, Luke Schenn, Tyler Myers, Erik Karlsson, Lucas Sbisa, Michael Del Zotto, and incredibly John Carlson all in the first round. That is a stunning list of players that doesn't include forwards such as Colin Wilson, Nikita Filatov, Colin Wilson, Tyler Ennis, and Josh Bailey who have all played over 200 games. Cody Hodgson is close to that and starting to emerge as a high end player, and the Oilers stole Jordan Eberle at 22.  

The second round is dramatically different. Only four player have managed 100 games or more. Goalies Jake Allen and Jacob Markstrom are on track to be NHL'ers so that is six. Justin Schultz did four full years of college but looks like he will be a player. Zac Dalpe and Luke Adam still have time but you see the point. As far as Cormier is concerned, where he was picked, who was picked around him, and who was left after him is not nearly as bad when you take things into proper context. New Jersey picked a player who at this point is 55th in games played for the entire draft, he was picked 54th... (BTW, despite what you may have heard, NHL scouts are good) 

Cormier was never a big point producer in junior and has always played a robust game. Decent size with decent hands, no doubt scouts were projecting a future power forward. Always a gamer, Cormier was not able to bring his offence to the pro level. His debut in the AHL was in the 2010 playoff run for the Chicago Wolves were he promptly recorded 0 points in 9 games. He has one career goal and one assist in 40 NHL games. The real problem for Cormier though has been the injuries that have derailed his development. He's been on the IR for three lengthy stays as a pro, and didn't ever play a full schedule in junior. Able to play center or the wing and willing to stick up for team mates, his future as a pro is as a 4th line forward and there is nothing wrong with that. Hopefully when he gets the opportunity to grab the job, he is healthy enough to take it.

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