Name: Brendan Perlini
Position: Left Wing
Junior Team: Niagara (OHL)
Rankings: NHL CSS – 8th (NA), ISS – 7th, Justin’s List – 11th, Bobby’s List – 13th
Forgive me, but this Brendan Perlini draft profile may sound a little familiar. Like many of the players expected to go in the first half of the opening round, Perlini is an offensively gifted winger with great speed and a great shot. This season, Perlini benefited from the likes of Ryan Strome and Brett Ritchie graduating to the pros, as he took on a much greater role on his Niagara Ice Dogs team. Forming instant chemistry with Leafs’ 2013 third round pick Carter Verhaeghe, Perlini scored an impressive 34 goals and 71 points in 58 games.
Perlini is one of the top skaters in the draft, and can enter the offensive zone with ease. Once he arrives, Perlini’s excellent offensive skills makes him a constant threat to score, or create a scoring chance. It appears that all of these skills make Perlini an excellent power play option, as 16 of his 34 goals came with the man advantage.
Perlini also enjoyed some success at the international level, suiting up for the Team Canada at the WJC U-18 tournament and scoring three goals and an assist in seven games, and picking up a bronze medal for his efforts. If you’re into that whole ‘leadership’ thing, you’ll be happy to hear that Team Canada also slapped an ‘A’ on his chest.
By no means is it a significant drop, but it feels as though Brendan Perlini’s stock has slid slightly in the weeks heading up to the 2014 NHL Draft. Perlini does a lot of things well on the offensive side of the puck, but perhaps not quite as well as those ranked ahead of him.
The biggest knock on Perlini, one that nearly every scouting report mentions, is his seeming unwillingness to fully utilize his impressive size to his advantage. Possessing a power forward’s body and not playing a power game is something that generally doesn’t go over well with scouts, coaches, front offices and, well, the media. That being said, if Perlini can contribute offensively and compete hard, I could care less if he crashes and crunches.
Is he a good choice?
I like Perlini, but I like him a lot more in the #10 – #15 range than I do at #8. It wouldn’t be a huge reach if the Leafs selected him in the top ten, but I find other scoring wingers, such as Nikolaj Ehlers, Nick Ritchie and Jake Virtanen, more desirable. Chances are that at least one of those three will still be available. In the off-chance that the Leafs trade down, Perlini would be near the very top of my list.
What are the scouts saying?
“Can attack the zone in a myriad of ways… will cut to the slot, try to beat a defender wide or exploit a hole if one presents itself… blinding skater (easily one of the best in the draft class)… sporadic compete level without the puck and inconsistent efforts in the defensive zone are areas for improvement” – McKeen’s 2014 NHL Draft Guide
“Perlini is a two-way force who can get caught playing on the perimeter too much as he does not engage physically even though he can hold his own very well with his size. Sometimes you see him lose a puck battle along the wall and think ‘How did he get outmuscled when he is larger than his opponent?’” – Future Considerations’ 2014 NHL Draft Guide
Brendan Perlini reminds me very much of a young Fred Perlini, a nearly point-per-game star for the Leafs back in 1981-1982 (he scored 5 points in his 7 game NHL career). Oh, and Fred Perlini is also Brendan Perlini’s father. Coincidence!