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The third overall pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Draft, Eric Cornel really struggled in his rookie season with the Petes in 2012-13. Overall, he has been overshadowed by some of the players picked after him, and by his own teammate (a 2011 pick) Nick Ritchie when it comes to being top prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft. However Cornel bounced back nicely this past season, and has put himself back into the conversation as a possible late first round/early second round pick in the draft. Cornel put up 25 goals and 62 points in 68 games this season for the Petes. He also put up seven points in 11 playoff games, helping the Petes to a first round upset over their divisional rivals, the Kingston Frontenacs in a dramatic seven game series.
Center/Right Wing — shoots Right
Born Apr 11 1996 — Kemptville, ONT
Height 6.02 — Weight 184 [188 cm/83 kg]
Moved from centre to right wing following the Petes trade for Hunter Garlant, Eric Cornel really blossomed in the second half of the season in his new position. His future may still be at centre going forward, and he is expected to be back at centre for Peterborough next year, but it seemed that removing some of the defensive responsibilty of being expected to play that spot on the Petes top line, and play a two-way game in the middle of the ice really helped him take steps forward offensively this year.
Cornel is a great skater. He has very good top end speed, and above average acceleration. As he has gained weight and gotten stronger he has improved his balance and is stronger on the puck and better in board battles, however he could stand to add even more core strength in the coming years. His edgework and agility are also very good, and this gives him a leg up in sneaking by defenders off the rush.
Cornel has very long reach and excellent puck handling skills helping him to protect the puck . He has very good vision and excellent passing skill, making him an outstanding playmaker off the rush or in the cycle. For this reason many believe he will eventually succeed at centre. One issue though is that Cornel often tries to rush every play, when he learns to slow the play down and take advantage of his reach, puck handling and passing skills by extending plays, he could be a deadly offensive force. His wrist shot is strong, accurate, and features a very good release, giving him the ability to both score as well as set up plays. He also has a good one-timer, as well as the soft hands to score in tight. While Cornel works well in the cycle game, and isn’t afraid to get to the front of the net and battle along the boards, he could stand to initiate physical contact more and throw his weight around on the forecheck as well.
Cornel worked hard to improve his defensive game from his rookie season where he looked completely lost in his own zone. He did become better at playing the body, and at helping his defence in containing the cycle game. However he still has some issues with keeping his feet moving and with basic positioning. Its certainly something that can be learned, and Cornel should get there given the improvements he showed offensively and defensively this year, he has shown that he is coachable, and willing to work hard to improve his game.
Eric Cornel’s game is reminiscent of Mark Schiefele of the Winnipeg Jets. This is a style comparison and not a talent one though. He still is very raw, and with continued improvement he could become a very good top six centre. However he is a bit of a project, and he will need quite some time and development before he is ready for the next level.
Here are some highlights of Eric Cornel in action.
Check back tomorrow for my #36 ranked prospect.
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