Patrice Cormier, the highly-touted prospect obtained in the Ilya Kovalchuk deal, finally made his NHL debut this season for the Thrashers. It just started late and ended early. Cormier was lost to a broken foot on the eve of training camp. After healing and playing less than a dozen games in the minors he made his debut. However, the forward was limited to 21 games before suffering a season-ending concussion.
Cormier finished with a goal and an assist.
In the next-to-last of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Cormier had to say about finally playing in the NHL and what he looks forward to next season.
Q. Can you talk about your season? I imagine it was difficult considering the broken foot early on and then suffering a concussion after finally joining the team?
A. I think that sums it. I could only play 30-something games. Going into the summer, I just want to get cleared to work out. That’s the key.
It was a tough year, for sure, mentally. I think trying to get back, I was always behind the eight ball but I think I will be healthy next year and that’s the thing I’m focusing on right now.
Q. In those 21 games you played, how would you assess how you did?
A. I think considering I came from a broken foot with just a few games in [AHL] Chicago, I think I started off pretty good with 12 games there and then I came up here. It was quicker than expected to get called up, but I was happy. I think even here, I think I showed I could play. It was only 20 games right, so it doesn’t make a career.
Q. What would you like to see your role be next season?
A. I can’t expect anything. I have to make my way. I haven’t proven anything in the NHL. I have proven I can play. I just want to be the same, a checking guy, working hard, blocking shots, being positive on the bench. I will be ready and in the right mindset.
Q. Would you describe it as going into next season with a hunger or extra motivation?
A. Yes. I think this year I only played 30 games. Last year, with the suspension, I only played 40 games. I just think I need to play a full season. Hopefully, it’s going to be in the NHL.
Q. How do you see it with players like yourself, Evander Kane and Alexander Burmistrov being the young core of this team?
A. I think it’s good to have a young team and have guys you can relate with. Some teams have a lot of older players and it’s probably tough on the young guys. Here we have so many young guys. I think it’s a promising future for all of us. We are young and hopefully we are all going to be here for awhile.
The series concludes Friday with Ben Maxwell.