I’m back with yet another draft prospect article, however, today’s player in question is one whom I hadn’t outlined previously. So today, we’re branching into new territory!
Jacob Perreault, like most of the prospects outside of the top ten, has proven to be quite divisive. On various draft boards and scouting sites, I’ve seen him ranked as high as 16th to as low as 28th, meaning he could very well be in draft-able territory for the Flyers. There also seems to be a fair amount of discussion on what position Perreault should be considered at. His Elite Prospects page denotes him as a center, though other sites list him as a RW. In the end, from what I’ve seen, he appears capable of playing both positions, though I think his game is best suited to wing.
Perreault is listed at 5’11”, 198 lbs, so while he isn’t a small forward, he isn’t particularly large either. Regardless, that doesn’t really factor into his game. This kid on the ice wants to do one thing and one thing only: put that puck into the back of the net. He is tremendously talented in the offensive zone, and while he is an excellent passer with good vision, he is first and foremost a shooter. At least on the power play, watching him I see shades of Alex Ovechkin. That comparison alone should leave you very excited.
Let’s take a deeper dive:
What do the stats say?
Perreault, in 2019-20, played his age 17 season with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL. After scoring 55 points (30 goals) in 63 games at the age of 16, he improved this past season. In 57 total games, he scored 70 points, 39 of which were goals. That point total was good enough for 31st most in the league, and in terms of simply goals, he ranked 11th most in the OHL.
In terms of projecting his future production, I would expect him to be among the goalscoring leaders in the OHL next season, and I would like to see him hit the scoring numbers of other draft+1 snipers such as Arthur Kaliyev. Perreault is already close to the 40 goal mark, so I expect him to break 40, and possibly even 50 if he really takes a step forward.
Perreault may not have the potential to be a point-per-game player in the NHL, and due to being a goalscorer, his overall point totals may fluctuate. However, he should always rank highly in terms of goalscoring.
The Eye Test
While both Jacob Perreault and Sam Colangelo are goalscorers, they are different types of players. Perreault plays more of a finesse style than Colangelo, and I would say has more skill with the puck. In the end, what that results to is that you’ll see Perreault relying more heavily on his shot that Colangelo, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While Colangelo equally likes to get to the net to score, Perreault isn’t always going to do that because he doesn’t need to. This doesn’t mean Perreault can’t play physically. In fact, Perreault is capable of winning board battles and getting to pucks ahead of larger, stronger players. However, his shot is just so good that it’s one-stop shopping for him.
Remember when I said that Perreault gave me shades of Ovechkin on the power play? Here’s what I’m referring to:
I'm convinced that Jacob Perreault has the best shot in the 2020 NHL Draft class. His one-timer will translate very well to a NHL power play. pic.twitter.com/EujhTRqhyt— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) May 7, 2020
He has such a good one-timer from the circle, and is going to be one of the best power play shooters in the league if he develops. His one-timer, slapshot, and wrist shot are all elite, and many have said he’s the best shooter in the draft. I certainly wouldn’t doubt it.
Perreault’s shooting ability speaks to how good his hands are, and he can make tremendous passes in the offensive zone as well. I wouldn’t say he is as good of a playmaker as he is a scorer, but his passing is good enough to have the potential to be a weapon in the NHL. He also does a lot of little things well, and does well to support his teammates on the rush and in the defensive zone.
Where Perreault has seen criticism is in his skating, as his foot speed could be improved for a player his size. However, I think all of the other aspects of his game make that issue minor at most. What you’re getting in Perreault is an elite calibre scorer that, provided he can improve upon other aspects of his game, could be transcendentally talented at putting the puck in the back of the net with ease at the NHL level.