Player: Brendan Perlini
Drafted By: Arizona Coyotes (12th overall)
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 8 North American skater
Height/Weight: 6'2'', 205 lbs
DOB: April 27, 1996 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: OHL, Niagara IceDogs
Brendon Perlini is a prototypical power forward with great hands and natural goal-scoring ability. He is already 6'2", 205 pounds and has the potential to get bigger before he arrives in the NHL. The biggest question most scouts have about Perlini is his work ethic and inconsistency.
During the regular season, Perlini got off to a hot start but finished with 34 goals and 71 points in 58 games. He failed to score in seven playoff games and added only one assist. In the World Juniors, Perlini scored three goals and totaled four points in seven games.
If Perlini becomes more consistent, he has the potential to be a great power forward.
Full Scouting Report
Playing against teenagers, Perlini was able to use his size to protect the puck and then utilize his skill to do something with it once he had it. The England native has natural goal-scoring ability and is capable of dominating a game for long stretches. Unfortunately, he has often been inconsistent and can seem invisible for long stretches of games.
One scout told The Hockey News in their Draft Preview issue about a game where Perlini scored both goals for Canada during a 2-1 win at the World Juniors. "He played about five minutes of what I would consider worthwhile hockey," the scout said. "But he was the single reason they won."
Perlini has a hard shot and skates very well for a big man. TSN's Bob McKenzie told the Vancouver Canucks' official website that Perlini was a "Big, strong winger that can shoot the puck and can skate like the wind."
Dan Marr of NHL Central Scouting added that Perlini "plays an unselfish game moving the puck around and he gets his stick on pucks and arrives on time for chances. He's a good shooter and has a good touch finishing chances."
Perlini is a power forward that is a terrific skater. He can shoot the puck in stride and plays really hard for a big man. He's more of a north/south player, but his speed causes major concerns for a defenseman in one-on-one situations. Perlini has good hockey sense, good hands and a very good shot. His skills make him an interesting choice.
If Perlini can be more consistent in his game, he should be a very strong power forward.
NHL Player Comparison
James Neal of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Perlini isn't as physical as Neal, but he has similar size and is creative and fast for a big man, like Neal is. Also like Neal, he is capable of scoring and setting up his teammates for quality scoring chances.
Power forwards usually take a bit longer to mature, but Perlini is already big. He may need some time to grow into his body and to improve his work ethic. He also needs to learn to play against men. In the NHL, he will not be the biggest and strongest player on the ice every game. Expect Perlini to reach the NHL in 2016-17.
If Perlini learns how to play hard on every shift of every game, he can be a 40-goal, 80-point player a few years after he reaches the NHL.
Perlini's skating speed creates problems for defenders, while his vision and heavy shot give him options once he gets the puck in the attacking zone. Perlini does need to learn to use his size to his advantage and play a more physical game every night. If he does, he should be a first-line power forward for years to come.