Buffalo Sabres 2016 Top 25 Under 25: #21 Eric Cornel
Cornel was one of three second-round picks in last year's draft.
Weight: 192 lbs.
2013-14 team: Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd round (44th overall) in the 2014 draft
Last year's ranking: 24
Cornel's production took a slight dip this season, down ten points from the year prior. However, he still finished third in scoring on a Petes team that finished ten games under .500. He has the size and skating ability to produce at the NHL level.
The former third-overall pick in the 2012 OHL draft, Cornel lost arguably his most talented teammate, Nick Ritchie, when he was traded to Sault St. Marie after 25 games. Peterborough just barely snuck into the playoffs with the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. Cornel had no goals and five assists in the series against Oshawa.
Unfortunately, the most memorable facet of Cornel's year was his suspension. He was one of five Petes players suspended a game for egging a car. The severity of this incident probably isn't worthy of saying Cornel has questionable character, but it certainly wasn't something the Sabres liked to see.
Following the Petes departure from the playoffs Cornel got his first taste in Rochester, recording one assist. He'll return to Canadian juniors again this season for a final year.
As many believed when the Sabres selected him as one of their three second-round picks last year, Cornel is a project. He could certainly be described as toolsy. He has all the things you'd like, but not it's about putting it all together. He needs to use his size to his advantage and improve defensively. It'll likely be two to three more years before he suits up for the Sabres, but if he can translate his speed and smarts to the NHL level, he could develop into the top-six forward many believe he has the potential to be.
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