LA Kings: Drafting Lukas Cormier could have Quinn Hughes-like impact

(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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A defenseman will be the priority for the LA Kings after the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft. Lukas Cormier is an underrated option in the second round.

While he’s not likely to go as high in the NHL Draft, Lukas Cormier has drawn stylistic comparisons to Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes. The LA Kings are expected to take Quinton Byfield with the second overall pick but emphasizing defense beyond that selection. The Canucks took the likely Calder Trophy winner, Hughes, with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 Draft, and proved talented defensemen don’t have to be the most physical guy on the ice.

Cormier could be that guy for the Kings in this draft class, utilizing his speed and quickness to help move the puck up-ice. Let’s take a closer look at the Ste-Marie-de-Kent, New Brunswick native.

Measurements

  • Height: 5-foot-10
  • Weight: 179 pounds
  • Age: 18
  • Shot: L

Production

  • 2019-2020: Six goals with 30 assists for 36 points in 44 games in the QMJHL (Charlottetown Islanders)
  • 2018-2019: 15 goals with 21 assists for 36 points in 63 games for Charlottetown

Accolades

  • 2018-19 QMJHL All-Rookie Team
  • Broken record for most goals scored by a rookie defenseman

Strengths

Cormier is an offensive-minded defenseman who has a lethal shot from the blue line. He’s an excellent skater and can play a 200-foot game, often leading rushes through the neutral zone. His ability to quarterback the powerplay is paramount for a defenseman who lacks the ideal size. The Canadian blueliner demonstrates terrific stick-handling and goes after pucks on dump-ins.

You can often find Cormier at the top of the point, waiting for that pass that he can drive on net with a powerful slap shot that is kept low to squeeze by the goalie or off a teammate’s stick in front of the net. He’s an excellent skater who has all the makings of a future top-four pairing.

Weaknesses

Cormier’s size limits him in what he can bring from a physicality standpoint, but he makes up for his defensive skills with speed. He’s rarely beaten off the edges and retrieves loose pucks quickly, turning them around and back up-ice. Cormier’s active stick makes him an above-average defender. His physicality should improve as he adds muscle to his frame.

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