The Devils Draft Prospect Series continues today with two more 2016 draft picks; I wrote about Mikhail Maltsev this morning but be sure to check out the rest of the posts in the “Draft Prospect Series” on the blog.
The New Jersey Devils selected goaltender Evan Cormier 105th overall in the fourth round of the 2016 NHL Entry-Level Draft. The Devils have drafted a goaltender in each of the last four years (2017: Gilles Senn, 2016: Cormier, 2015: MacKenzie Blackwood). The 19-year old Canadian is a decent-sized goalie, weighing in at 6′ 3″ and 203 pounds. Cormier has played about four (three and a half) seasons in the OHL with the North Bay Battalion and most recently, the Saginaw Spirit.
Here are some of his stats:
This past season, he posted a 3.23 goals against average and an .899 save percentage in 49 games played for the Spirit. They failed to make the playoffs but Cormier was a bright spot. He was also named an OHL All-Star for the first time. It was an improvement (albeit a slight one) over his 2015-16 campaign, where he posted a 3.72 GAA and an .890 save percentage in 58 regular season games; the Spirit made the playoffs but Cormier had a brutal 7.23 GAA and an .844 save percentage in four games.
I’ve said this a lot but it’s hard to judge and critique goaltenders based on their junior hockey stats. They could have awful junior numbers but turn out to be a legitimate NHL-caliber goaltender, or they could have phenomenal junior hockey numbers and completely falter in the NHL. Cormier’s numbers are a little lower than you’d like them to be but I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him so far and he has the makings of an NHL goaltender.
Here’s an article about Cormier and how he can help the Devils, who have a rich goaltending history. When asked about it, he said, “They definitely have a lot of history with their goalies. It’s great to be a part of that path and that road they went down. To see what it takes to be there and be with the best of the best is something I want to do, but I want to make my own legacy.”
Here’s another great article about Cormier. Again, when asked about being drafted by the team that also drafted one of the best goaltenders in NHL history, he says, “Knowing that they’ve had a legend of the game in the net, being selected by this team is such a big honour. I’m so proud to be wearing this jersey right now.”
The article also goes on to note that Cormier is good friends with another Devils goaltending prospect, Ken Appleby; they work out together during the offseason. Cormier says, “It’s going to be tough competing against him [Appleby] because he’s such a great goalie. I’m definitely going to be pushed to work a lot harder so I can compete against him in the future.”
The Devils have good goaltending depth in the organization. Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid are their goalies right now. Scott Wedgewood has shown that he’s ready to play at the NHL level but he could be a potential trade chip. Also in Binghamton (AHL), you have (Ken) Appleby and (MacKenzie) Blackwood. And now you have (Gilles) Senn, who the Devils drafted this year. And now Cormier is added to the mix. I can’t wait to watch him at both development camp and training camp. He could be the Devils’ future.