NHL Draft 2014: Sabres trade No. 39 pick to WSH, take C/RW Eric Cornel with pick No. 44

The Sabres made a trade and picked up another middle-six center/winger in the process.

The Buffalo Sabres traded their No. 39 pick to Washington for Nos. 44 and 74, and with the No. 44 pick in the NHL Draft, they select Eric Cornel, center from Peterborough in the OHL.

Cornel is a big center (who also played right wing his year) with size, speed, vision, and smarts (hey, sounds familiar). He's just beginning to tap into his potential, and will likely take a few years before sniffing the NHL, but he's got a strong two-way game and will someday slot in nicely on the middle lines in Buffalo.

Here's what Eldon McDonald of The Hockey Writers had to say

  • Progression & Evolution - Let’s cut to the chase: Eric was the third overall pick in the 2012 OHL Draft but struggled severely in the 2012-13 OHL season because he didn’t possess the overall strength necessary to succeed in the OHL. His defense was also sub-standard due in part to the strength issue. Fast forward to the 2013-14 season and these issues have not been totally eliminated but they have been addressed to the point where Peterborough is getting that top line talent they expected from the draft. He continues to evolve his game.
  • Skills – Physical – Great hands on a 6’2 frame, a cannon of a shot, passes that can be oh so sweet. Intangible – Add to the physical skills, the drive, desire and vision of a young man determined to succeed and you have a high end player who can make those who play with him look so much better.
  • Draft placement – Late second to early third on most lists. Eric has travelled a long way on the progression road this year but I feel there is much more to come as he adds more weight and strength and instills more confidence in himself. Expect him to go higher rather than lower because of his size and the fact that he has progressed so much already.

Here's more on Cornel from Jackets blog The Cannon:

Cornel won't wow you, but he does bring enough to the table to be a solid two-way contributor. There are questions though- does he have enough offensive ability to hang in an NHL teams' top six? Does he have the physical particulars to be a checker? Cornel definitely fits the bill as a "tweener".