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BSH 2020 Community Draft Board, No. 5: Cole Perfetti

Another top scorer in the OHL? Don’t mind if we do.

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Saginaw Spirit v London Knights Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Voted next onto our Community Draft Board at number 5 is Cole Perfetti. Perfetti’s coming off of a strong season with Saginaw of the OHL, which saw him finish second in the league in scoring. He is, as this would suggest, a high-scoring center (but mostly winger, recently), and easily one of the strongest passers in this top prospects group. Let’s talk about Perfetti!

BSH 2020 Community Draft Board, No. 5: Cole Perfetti

2019-20 Season:

Team: Saginaw Spirit, OHL

Statistics: 37 G, 74 A in 61 GP

Pre-draft rankings

No. 5 (NA Skaters/Goalies) by NHL Central Scouting

No. 9 by Future Considerations

No. 6 by ISS Hockey

No. 4 by Wheeler/The Athletic

What’s there to like?

His stat line, of course, stands out right off the bat. His 111 points last season were good for second in the OHL, behind just Marco Rossi, who we talked about yesterday. It also put him very comfortably at first in scoring on his Spirit team, with 31 more points than second place Cole Coskey. It’s impressive offensive production, particularly for a player still just in his draft year, and there are a number of scouts who can see this translating easily to production at the professional level. He’s a creative playmaker, and he has a quick and accurate shot, which makes things difficult on opposing goalies.

What really stands out about his game are his puck skills. He’s an incredibly strong passer, and the way he’s able to see seams and thread passes to his teammates is truly pretty remarkable. And it’s that passing and playmaking the makes him elusive—and in some ways helps to mask what he lacks in pure foot speed—in that he’s able to use his ability to find his teammates and make quick plays to escape defenders and get himself out of trouble.

He has a strong hockey sense, and he’s very calm and patient, meaning he’s able to be really successful under pressure. There’s no panic to his game, he’s confident in his abilities, and isn’t afraid to take the extra second to hold on to the puck and make the right play.

What’s not to like?

There really don’t seem to be any major, glaring concerns about Perfetti’s game. If we want to nitpick (and maybe this matters more to some than others), we could note that Perfetti isn’t the strongest or the fastest player on the ice (his straight line speed could use some improvement). Which isn’t to say that these areas are full-on weaknesses, but they’re certainly areas that could use a bit of work.

Maybe those are concerns, but on the other hand, maybe his playmaking skill makes up for those pieces and we kind of start to forget about them, or at least don’t really see them as weaknesses anymore.

The other piece is that we’d like to see a bit of development in his defensive game—he isn’t poor defensively, but he can fall victim to lapses in judgement that will lead to breakdowns. It seems fixable, so it doesn’t present as a complete red flag, but a team who wants him to bring a more complete game would have to put some work in with him to refine the defensive side.

How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?

This might be sort of a weird fit, or it doesn’t feel immediately apparent. Perfetti figures to be a few years away from making the jump to the NHL, and in the meantime, the Flyers have prospects in the pipeline who seem to be in line to fill in any holes at center and left wing in the top-9. That said, Perfetti projects to be a very good NHL player, and it stands to reason that he could sweep in and steal a spot at the NHL level when he breaks in, because the most skill and best stylistic fit should win out in the end. But it doesn’t seem to be an easy road for him to find a role in the Flyer’s top-9, there are a lot of players ahead of him.

Could the Flyers actually get him?

Barring some kind of big trade that would allow them to move up, probably not. We’ve voted Perfetti in at fifth, and he’s ranked as low as ninth on some of the major draft boards, but even if he does fall that far in the actual draft, it would take a pretty considerable trade made for the Flyers to move up that much, and I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen. It isn’t completely outside the realm of possibility, but probably pretty close.

2020 BSH Community Draft Board

  1. Alexis Lafreniere — LW, Rimouski (QMJHL)
  2. Quinton Byfield — C, Sudbury (OHL)
  3. Marco Rossi — C, Ottawa (OHL)
  4. Tim Stützle — LW/C, Manheim (DEL)
  5. Cole Perfetti — LW/C, Saginaw (OHL)
  6. ???