We knew this going in. One of the difficulties in evaluating some of this year’s draft prospects was going to come in the fact that many of them have played very little (and some not at all), and this is the case we’re running into with our next player.
Corson Ceulemans played just eight games with the Brooks Bandits before the AJHL shut down, and his season ended. That season was limited to those eight games, plus a six game run for Canada at the U18s, but brief as it may have been, it was still a very solid season for Ceulemans. Let’s get into it!
BSH 2021 Community Draft Board, No. 19: Corson Ceulemans
Team: Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
Stats: 4 G, 7 A in 8 GP
No. 14 (NA skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 11 by FC Hockey
No. 42 by Dobber Prospects
No. 22 by Wheeler/The Athletic
What’s there to like?
What immediately stands out about Ceulemans’s game is his strength at moving the puck. He’s a very strong skater, and combining that with his size (6’2”, 201 pounds), he's quite mobile and strong enough where he’s very difficult to push off the puck once he has it. He’s comfortable leading a breakout, skating the puck out on his own, and with his attacking mentality, he's able to translate that offense with ease. He also brings a strong first pass, which is an added asset, certainly.
But speaking more to that offensive game, his toolkit is an exciting one. That passing ability that we mentioned helps him on breakouts, but also in the offensive zone, as he’s able to make a quick play to one of his teammates to set up a chance. He also has a very good shot—a quick wrist shot as well a strong slapshot from the point, that he’s already shown an aptitude for getting through traffic. His instincts are very good, and that much is very clear, watching him. You won't often see him getting caught deliberating too long, holding on to the puck and getting himself into trouble, rather he’s more decisive with the puck, able to get a quick shot off or pass to a teammate.
As for the defensive side, that’s a bit of a work in progress (more on that later), but there still is a good foundation that he’s working with. His gaps are generally good, with the help of that strong skating, he’s able to close the distance between himself and opponents quickly, and he’s able to pressure very well. His transition defense is a particular strength, as he’s able to close in on opponents and limit the amount of space they have to work with as they approach the blue line, breaking up would-be chances. His reads aren’t perfect, but he is generally making the right one, so while there’s certainly room for improvement, there’s enough there to suggest that his instincts are still strong, which makes for a good foundation.
What’s not to like?
The biggest concern about his game comes around some of the mistakes that he’s been known to make. He can be a bit turnover prone, and can also get exposed at times, when he’s caught flat-footed and struggles to recover. That, understandably, inserts a degree of risk into his game.
But there’s good news here: we mentioned his U18 showing being a good one, and a key part of that was how he was able to clean up and limit some of those miscues in his game. He’s certainly still a work in progress, but he’s shown that he isn’t a lost cause, and that he’s receptive to coaching and can continue to develop his game with age.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
As we’ve talked about as we’ve made our way through this draft board, defense isn’t a position of massive need in the Flyers’ pipeline, but it sure wouldn’t hurt them to bolster it a little more, particularly on the right side.
And as for his style, there certainly seems like there could be a fit there. The Flyers do already have a handful of defensemen both at the NHL level and in the pipeline who are strong puck movers, but if this season told us anything, it’s that they could certainly use some more. The added skill element of Ceulemans’s game is certainly a nice added bonus, but if the Flyers are targeting a defenseman in this draft, it really should be a plus puck mover.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
We’re getting into particularly volatile territory with these projections for where players like Ceulemans will be taken, as you may have already noticed. There’s a possibility that he could be taken a bit before the Flyers are set to pick, but it’s more likely we’ll see him still on the board, available to them at 13. In fact, he might even still be available if they decide to make a trade to move back, so if they’ve decided that Ceulemans is their guy, there may well be some flexibility here.
We’ll also make one addition to the poll:
Xavier Bourgault — C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
Bourgault is a very skilled forward who has put up huge numbers in the QMJHL the last two seasons with 111 points in 92 games. He scored 20 goals in 29 games in 2020-21. Bourgault stands out with the puck on his stick. He’s confident, attempting to make difficult dekes and passes and executing at a solid frequency. At higher levels he projects to play on a power play. He’s not an exceptional skater, but he will be able to skate at an NHL level, and has shown he can make skilled plays on the move and play with pace. - Corey Pronman, the Athletic
Who should be 20th on the draft board?
This poll is closed
2021 BSH Community Draft Board
- Owen Power — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Matthew Beniers — C, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Brandt Clarke — D, Nove Zamky (Slovakia)
- Dylan Guenther — LW/RW, Edmonton (WHL)
- William Eklund — C/LW, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
- Luke Hughes — D, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Simon Edvinsson — D, Frölunda HC J20 / J20 Nationell - 21/22
- Kent Johnson — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Aatu Räty — C, Kärpät U20 and Kärpät (Liiga)
- Jesper Wallstedt — G, Luleå (SHL)
- Mason McTavish — C, EHC Olten (SL)
- Cole Sillinger — C/LW, Sioux (USHL)
- Chaz Lucius — C, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Fabian Lysell — LW/RW, Luleå HF (SHL)
- Carson Lambos — D, JYP U20 (U20 SM-sarja)
- Matthew Coronato — F, Chicago Steel (USHL)
- Nikita Chibrikov — LW/RW, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL), SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL), SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
- Sasha Pastujov — LW, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Corson Ceulemans — D, Brooks Bandits (AJHL)