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Super sophomore Lukas Cormier excited to help Charlottetown Islanders take next step


CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Lukas Cormier is looking to pick up where he left off after turning heads as a 16-year-old rookie last season for the Charlottetown Islanders.
The sophomore is approaching his draft year head-on and looking forward to taking his game to the next level while helping the Isles make some noise in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“I think I have a lot to prove,” he said Wednesday. “I think I have . . . to improve every time I get on the ice and get better every time, so I think it’s a huge year for me.”

Charlottetown Islanders defenceman Lukas Cormier is set to begin his second season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Charlottetown Islanders defenceman Lukas Cormier is set to begin his second season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

A huge year it is with the NHL draft awaiting him at season’s end, but that will take care of itself in due time.
“I’m trying not to think a lot about it,” he admitted. “I just (want to) play my game and be the best I can be every time I step on the ice.”
Cormier was drafted fourth overall by the Islanders in 2018. The Islanders tried to ease him into the lineup, but he passed every test and was soon playing next to captain Pierre-Olivier (P.O.) Joseph on the squad’s top pair.
“P.O. was great to me,” he said. “He was a great role model.”
Cormier was calm and poised on the ice last year and was confident enough in his abilities to try things many veterans wouldn’t.
His head coach said he’s a grounded young man and a very good student who has a very supportive family behind him.
“He comes from good stock and that helps keep you grounded,” Jim Hulton said. “There’s more important things in life than whether you go in the first round or the third round of the NHL draft. I think he already has a full grasp of that. Those are the kids that usually navigate this season the best.”
The bench boss sees a more confident and physically stronger Cormier on the ice this year. His shots are harder and his passes crisper.
“He didn't rest on his laurels. He had a real good summer in the gym.”
Goalie Matthew Welsh had one of the best seats in the house to watch Cormier perform as a rookie.
“He’s a special D-man,” he said. “I remember him coming in last year, and he just seemed like a little kid and then he got on the ice and everyone was just blown away by his ability to skate and his ability to shoot the puck. He shows maturity beyond his years.”
It didn't surprise Islanders teammate Patrick LeBlanc.
The two grew up together in the same community and LeBlanc saw him dominate for a Moncton Flyers midget team that won the Atlantics.
“He has always been a hard worker and he loves the game so much,” said LeBlanc.
Noah Laaouan joined Cormier on the Isles’ blue-line after Joseph was traded to Drummondville during the Christmas break.
“He’s a really special player. He’s got lots of skill, lots of talent, so playing with a guy like that makes my job easier,” he said. “The way he moves with the puck, the way he skates, everything he does he does it at a high level and not many people can do that.”
Cormier played 63 games last season and six more in the playoffs, on top of playing at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. After the Islanders were eliminated by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the first round of the playoffs, Cormier went to Europe to try out as an underage player for the under-18 championship. He didn't make the final roster, but it helped him be ready to play for Canada at the Hlinka/Gretzky under-18 tournament this summer.
“It’s a huge honour and a privilege,” Cormier said of wearing the Maple Leaf. “It's always an unforgettable experience. It was really fun getting to play with all the guys you usually face and get to know them as a person.”
It also meant playing the most games he has ever played during a season.
“But I’m in shape enough to handle that,” he said. “I’m ready to go even more this year.”

Related links:

    • VIDEO: Charlottetown Islanders ready for opening night

    • Charlottetown Islanders: Three burning questions for 2019-20 QMJHL regular season

    • PHOTOS: Meet the Charlottetown Islanders


Lukas Cormier
Who – A second-year player with the Charlottetown Islanders major junior squad.
Age – 17.
Hometown – Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, N.B.
Size, position – Five-foot-10, 175-pound defenceman.
Jersey number – “I was always No. 15 growing up. I think it was because my grandfather (Omer Johnson wore that number) . . . but P.O. was 15 when I got here, so I switched to 51.”
Self-description – “I am offensive defenceman. I can bring a lot of offence to the team and not sacrifice the defensive play.”
Head coach Jim Hulton said: “He’s a terrific player. He’s a great kid. He exceeded all expectations and that’s a bold statement when you’re the fourth overall pick.”
Goalie Matthew Welsh said: “I love Lukas’ approach to the game. He’s very serious about his craft, he’s always getting better and he’s a leader in our dressing room, so we’re lucky to have him.”
Statistics
2018-19 regular season

GP   G     A    Pts.
63    15    21    36
Playoffs
6        1      4      5


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