by Brandt Corbin
Patrice Cormier, 21-years-old, Center 6’2 205
When a team is seeking to move their top asset, they often look to get a young up and coming prospect. Two seasons ago the Atlanta Thrashers were in that boat, Ilya Kovalchuk was the asset, Patrice Cormier was the prized prospect they got in return.
Cormier is a native of Cap-Pele New Brunswick, he played four seasons in the QMJHL and was drafted by the New Jersey Devils at the 2008 draft 54th overall. In his first professional season, he played 11 games in the AHL with 2 goals and 3 assists. After being ravaged by injuries he played 21 games with Atlanta accumulating 1 goal and 1 assist. The 6’2 205 forward, has the tools to be a power forward, often leading the forcheck and driving hard to the net. In his first season he often played on a checking line with Chris Thornburn and Eric Boulton. The former world junior prospect sports a good hockey sense with a better than average wrist and slap shot, he often kills penalties when need be.
The youngster likely doesn’t have the potential to be a top line forward. When its all said and done he’ll likely be a shutdown centerman, who can also score 25 goals. His top potential could be, a Keith Primeau type of a center, one of the main things holding him back is being prone to injury.
It would be likely that if Cormier cannot play within the top nine at the start of the next year, but possibly the fourth line again. There is a 50% chance he’ll start the season in the AHL. The 21-year-old does not need to be rushed into something he might not be ready for. He has two seasons left at $854,000
Spencer Machacek, 23-years-old 6-1 195 pound right winger
Lethbridge Alberta’s Spencer Machacek is a solid AHLer , a 3 time 20 goal scorer with the Chicago Wolves. But, the old Atlanta Thrashers, and now Winnipeg hockey club don’t care for him to be an average AHLer, they want him to become an average NHLer. It somewhat hurts Machacek that the old brass in Atlanta in Don Waddell and Rick Dudley are gone from the organization. The 23-year-old likely has one maybe two more chances to stick with the big team. He has a chance to grab one of the bottom four or five spots up front, for him it will depend on who gets a tryout or signed in the offseason. In 12 games in two seasons with the Thrashers the forward has 0 points, and has gone –2.
Solid two way forward
Machacek is a solid two way forward, he might never score 20 goals in the NHL, but he makes up for that in the defensive end. He will need to fight to become more than a third liner, and to get time on the power play, but is a player that will kill penalties and be counted on in the last minute of a game. He will be qualified at $780,000, and most certainly will be a two way contract.
What do these two bring to the game?
Every team that makes a run deep into the playoffs need youngsters that bring the piss and vinegar. This year you see players like Brad Marchand, Steve Downie, in the past we’ve seen the Troy Brouwers, Max Talbots, these two youngsters will play a similar game. Winnipeg fans hope they see these two have just as much success.