January 04 2012 06:27PM
Phil Cornet was a depth draft selection in 2008, turned pro in 2010 and posted what can only be described as a "pedestrian" AHL rookie season at age 20. Today he's an AHL all-star and a candidate for future NHL employment, Why all the fuss? Goals.
Phil Cornet was no screaming hell exiting junior. Edmonton drafted him 133rd overall, where even on draft day prospects are suspects. His draft day scouting report offered some hope but identified some flaws:
- "He's probablly the hardest working guy out there and he's a fun guy to watch on the ice. Probably needs to work a little more on his finish." -- E.J. Mcguire of NHL Central Scouting
Cornet finished off his junior career by improving his boxcar numbers and earned a pro contract for the Edmonton Oilers. As a 20-year old rookie, he got lost in the OKC fog, losing ground to Euro wingers Linus Omark and Teemu Hartikainen and ending up his first pro season with just 7 goals in 60 games. Oiler fans are familiar with failed AHL prospects, hell they've been sending first rounders there to die for a couple of decades now.
However, Phil Cornet may be an exception. How?
- Coach Nelson: “He's been playing well. He plays in a lot of different situations because he's a very smart player. I think it's a credit to Phil. He put in a great summer getting into better shape, and you can see it's paying off for him."
- Phil Cornet: “At the start of the year, we had meetings…and one of the things that I had to do better was to crash the net and stop at the net and get those rebounds and those tap-in goals."
Cornet must be an exceptional learner because his scoring rate this season is out of this world. He has 16 goals in 28 games this season and was named to the AHL All-Star team today. His goals total is tied for fourth overall and he was first in the entire league before an injury sidelined him.
Cornet is back, scoring goals and posting crooked numbers. Phil Cornet was drafted deep in the 2008 entry draft and had the look of an AHL tweener until this season. Is this a legit step forward?
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
There appears to be a little of the wild west in Oklahoma City's AHL team. Huge scoring seasons a year ago from Colin Mcdonald (42) and Alex Giroux (32) are being followed up by Cornet (he's added another goal--his 17th--as I write this). The difference is that McDonald and Giroux were older players and Cornet won't be 22 until March.
The Oilers have never mentioned him as a top drawer prospect because he hasn't been one. This scoring rampage must have caught their attention, though. Phil Cornet is on pace for 40 this season. 21-year olds who score 40 in the AHL are prospects, folks. No matter the pedigree.