A year older, a year stronger and with an impressive season behind him, Philippe Cornet is aiming to leave his mark at the Edmonton Oilers rookie camp.
The 19-year-old winger out of Val-Senneville, Que., is already turning heads through the first two days of camp.
He, Jordan Eberle and Milan Kytnar are lighting up opposing goaltenders in scrimmage.
“Last year at training camp, him and Eberle had pretty good chemistry and it seems like they’ve taken off again this year,” said Oilers assistant general manager Kevin Prendergast.
“Last year was a real good year for him, playing in Rimouski, playing in a Memorial Cup. He’s got a lot of talent at both ends of the ice. He thinks the game real well and he makes good plays.”
Cornet had 77 points in 63 games with the Oceanic last season. He was selected by the Oilers in the fifth round - 133 overall - of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and is currently attending his second rookie camp.
“It’s a little easier this year, because you know what to expect,” Cornet said. “Coming in this year, I know what the calibre of the guys are going to be and what kind of players are here. I’m better prepared this year for sure.
“I’m a lot more confident this year, I’m trying to do a little more than I did last year. Last year I was trying to make sure I was doing the little things ok, trying not to make any mistakes.
This year I’m trying to make a few more plays and hopefully things go better.”
Cornet is expected to get an invite to the Oilers main camp, which gets underway with medicals on Saturday.
Last year he lasted three days with the principle combatants before getting sent back to junior.
“This year I want to stay a little longer and make a better impression than I did last year,” Cornet said. “I’d like to get into an exhibition game this year, that would be a goal for me this year.”
At six-feet, 173-pounds with good speed and a knack for being able to get to the net, Cornet is expected to have another strong year in junior.
He was traded this year to Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, who are expected to ice a competitive squad.
“It’s going to be pretty good season I think,” Cornet said. “I’m a lot more confident, when you have a good season, you just want to go out and get better the next year. I put in a lot of work this off-season, try to do what I did last year and improve on it.
“I also get a chance to play closer to home. It’s nice to be able to place close to home. I spent three years 11 hours from home, so it’s going to be good playing closer to home.”
Cornet is expected to be on the top line as the rookies take on the Vancouver Canucks rookies at the Black Gold Arena in Leduc.
They’ll also face the University of Alberta Golden Bears on Friday.
The Bears host the Canucks Wednesday in Leduc.
“Like all of our players, you want to see improvement from the previous year,” Pendergast said. “He’s bigger, he’s stronger, his skating his better, he’s got good hockey sense, he makes good plays with the puck and he has patience. He can make things happen. We’ll look forward to see what he does in the big camp.”