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UPDATE: Islanders defenceman Lukas Cormier drafted by Vegas Golden Knights

Lukas Cormier is looking to build on a strong rookie season with the Charlottetown Islanders.
Lukas Cormier is in his third season with the Charlottetown Islanders.
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Lukas Cormier is a member of the NHL’s youngest franchise.

The Vegas Golden Knights selected the Charlottetown Islanders’ defenceman in the third round (68th overall) of Wednesday’s draft.

“It’s a great organization, a great city,” Cormier said. “I was really excited that it was them.”

Cormier watched the draft at home in Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, N.B., with his parents Mario and Gisele plus other family members and friends. His sister Dominique was in Stanstead, Que., where she attends Stanstead College.

“It was a surreal feeling to be with the family and friends. It was a lot of fun,” Cormier said.

The first round went Tuesday night with Rounds 2-7 going Wednesday afternoon and evening.

“It was a long wait,” Cormier said. “At the end of the day, the pick is just a number. I am just really excited to be drafted (by) Vegas.”

Islanders’ head coach and general manager Jim Hulton said the team was thrilled for Cormier.

“I think he’s going to be one of the steals of the draft, to get him at 68,” he said. “In my opinion, he was probably far ahead of a lot of guys that have went (before him) and I think he’s going to have fun proving them all wrong.”

Hulton called Cormier a grounded, level-headed young man who has a strong supportive family around him.

The 18-year-old, who is often be compared to Colorado Avalanche blue-liner Samuel Girard and Boston Bruins rearguard Torey Krug, leads the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with six points (two goals and four assists) in two games this season. Hulton said he used the extra time due to the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic to his advantage.

Lukas Cormier is now in his third season with the Charlottetown Islanders.
Lukas Cormier is now in his third season with the Charlottetown Islanders.

“He’s bigger, faster, stronger. He’s far and away our most complete player and he’s our fittest player,” he said. “He’s been nothing but outstanding since the first day he walked into our organization and the exciting part is the best is yet to come.”

Cormier said it’s nice to get off to a strong start but he is more concerned with the team earning four points in two games. He’s also not about to let Wednesday impact his long-term goals.

“It’s been a dream since I was really young to play in the NHL and get drafted,” he said. “I just have to keep working hard. The real workout starts now.”

The five-foot-10, 176-pound, left-shot blue-liner is in his third season with the Islanders, who drafted him fourth overall in 2018. He had 15 goals and 36 points in his 63-game rookie season when he played on the squad’s top pair. He followed it up with 36 points in a 44-game sophomore campaign that was interrupted by a broken foot.

The injury and the abrupt end to the season due to the pandemic may have contributed to Cormier sliding a bit in the draft.

“Those of us that have watched him play since Day 1 understand just how good he is,” Hulton said. “Really, this only matters on one day. He’s now an NHL pick, he’s picked by a terrific organization. For a brand-new franchise, they do a real good job with development. I think he’s in a great spot.”

Raphael Pouliot is the Knights’ Quebec area scout. He is the son of Mario Pouliot, the head coach of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

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