Lukas Cormier is looking forward to competing with the Canadian Hockey League’s top NHL draft prospects Thursday in Hamilton.
The Charlottetown Islanders defenceman will suit up for Team Red at the CHL/NHL Kubota Top Prospects Game.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” said the 17-year-old Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, N.B., native. “I’m just going to try and play my game. It’s going to be a lot of speed and skill and (I’m going to) try to show what I can do.”
The Islanders drafted the Moncton Flyers blue-liner with the fourth overall pick at the 2018 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) draft. He quickly adjusted to major junior and soon teamed with captain Pierre-Olivier (P.O.) Joseph on the Islanders top defence pair.
Cormier scored 15 goals and tallied 36 points in his 63-game rookie season. The five-foot-10, 175-pound Cormier has 21 points in 25 games this season after missing 19 games with foot injury sustained while blocking a shot Oct. 19 in Saint John, N.B. He returned to the lineup Dec. 6 against Baie-Comeau.
Cormier, who said he is close to being 100 per cent, said the top prospects game was on his radar entering his sophomore campaign.
“I think, at the start of the season, it’s a game you want to be in as a prospect,” he said. “You want to have your chance to prove what you can do.”
Islanders centre Nikita Alexandrov participated in the 2019 game and gave his teammate some advice.
“He just told me it was a lot of fun and to enjoy it,” said Cormier, who left Tuesday from the Charlottetown Airport.
Cormier is ranked 27th among North American skaters in the NHL central scouting’s midterms rankings released on Monday. The NHL draft will take place June 26-27 in Montreal.
“Lukas is a mobile, offensively gifted defenceman who combines skill, vision and grit,” Islanders head coach and general manager Jim Hulton said in a release. “These attributes are difficult to find in a young player, hence why he is so highly rated for this year’s draft.”
Cormeir said he appreciates the recognition but doesn't seek out the lists. If he comes across one, he will check them out.
“It’s nice to see your name but I don't really pay attention to that stuff,” he said.
Team Red defensemen Lukas Cormier (@IslandersHKY), Jérémie Poirier (@SJSeaDogs) and Thimo Nickl (@Voltigeurs_DRU) along with forward Dawson Mercer (@SagueneensLHJMQ) talk about their excitement prior to Thursday’s Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.#CHLKTP | #QMJHL | #NHLDraft— QMJHL (@QMJHL) January 15, 2020
Rimouski Oceanic left-winger Alexis Lafreniere was ranked No. 1, followed by Quinton Byfield and Jamie Drysdale. All three played for Canada at the recent world junior tournament in the Czech Republic.
Saint John Sea Dogs defenceman Charlie DesRoches of Days Corner was ranked 169th. He was one of 35 QMJHL players to make the list.
Need to know
Who – A second-year defenceman with the Charlottetown Islanders.
Hometown – Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, N.B.
Playing on the big stage – Cormier played with the Moncton Flyers at the 2018 Telus Cup national major midget championship and has played internationally for Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in November 2018 and the 2019 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup.
Season GP G A Pts.
2018-19 63 15 21 36
2019-20 25 5 16 21