Weight: 185 lbs.
2013-14 team: Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Acquired: Taken in the second round (44th overall) in the 2014 draft
Last year's ranking: N/A
The top picks may be the focal point, but Tim Murray is quick to remind people that the Sabres also have stockpiled quite a few other draft picks as well. Buffalo had three second-round picks in this year's draft and used the second to take center Eric Cornel.
Cornel is a player whose stock rose during this season. His first year with the Petes wasn't very impressive and was was only made worse by the fact that Peterborough had used the third overall pick in the OHL draft to select him. That season he only tallying four goals and 12 assists in 63 games. However, he more than tripled his point total this season and showed scouts some very positive qualities. He finished the year as the 25th ranked North American skater in the Central Scouting rankings.
Nearly every scouting report you read on Cornel commends his skating skills that serve as an incredibly useful compliment to his large stature. He has alternated between center and wing at times, but most project him as a center. With the way the Sabres prospect pool is set up, especially if they land a top-two pick in this year's draft, there may not be much room at the position.
The Petes had a strong season as a whole, largely due to Cornel and Anaheim Ducks first-round puck Nick Ritchie. Peterborough defeated Samuel Bennett and the Kingston Frontenacs in the first round but fell to the Oshawa Generals in the second. In the 11 playoff games Cornel scored four goals and three assists.
Cornel obviously has his weaknesses, or else he wouldn't have dropped to the Sabres in the second round. He has had troubles in his own zone and can be inconsistent, as noted by The Hockey News. In their draft preview edition of the magaizine THN also questioned his selfishness on the ice.
He's projected to be a top-six center, but he will likely be taken along slowly for development purposes. He has to grow into his frame a bit more and could use more seasoning to become a stronger all-around player.
Here are some good places to check out for more info on Cornel:
-Sabres Prospects: Ranks Cornel as the Sabres 18th best prospect
-Last Word on Sport: Ranked Cornel the 35th prospect in the draft
-Hockey's Future: Gives Cornel a 6.5 on the prospect scale and a C for probability of success
Want to check out more from the 25 under 25 list? You can find the latest here.