Brendan Perlini, ranked 8th among North American skaters heading into the 2014 NHL Draft, is one player that Buffalo Sabres fans should learn about prior to the draft at the end of June. Whether he becomes a Sabres prospect or is drafted by another NHL team this June, Brendan Perlini could be a solid component as he continues to develop in the Ontario Hockey League and beyond.
A HOCKEY FAMILY, THROUGH AND THROUGH
Perlini,18, is considered a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. He’s a 6-3 left winger who absolutely broke out on the scoresheet this past season, notching 71 points in 58 regular season games with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs.
A promising sophomore season could lead into great things for him, and although the IceDogs failed to make it far in the playoffs, a high-draft choice into the NHL could be a great part of the offseason for Perlini.
Brendan’s father, Fred Perlini, played internationally with the Guildford Flames of the British Hockey League. He also appeared in eight NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who drafted him in 1980.
Although Brendan Perlini’s OHL page proclaims his hometown as “Shelby Township, Ontario,” he was born some 3600 miles away, in Guildford, Surrey, England, during his father’s time with the Flames, and lived overseas until the age of 11, playing hockey in England for the first few years of his career.
Brendan is part of a large hockey family; his grandfather attended several NHL training camps, and his brother currently plays for the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye.
BRENDAN PERLINI’S NORTH AMERICAN CAREER
Before beginning his OHL career, Brendan played with the Soo Greyhounds Minor Bantam AAA team, as well as the Belle Tire Bantam Major AAA and U16.
Fast forward to 2012, when the OHL’s Barrie Colts selected him 16th overall in the OHL Priority Selection. It was with the Colts that Perlini would make his OHL debut, on September 20, 2012.
He played 32 games with Barrie that season, notching one goal and one assist in that stretch. Perlini had difficulty finding his niche on an overloaded Barrie team, but all that would change soon enough.
On January 9, 2013, the Colts traded Perlini to the IceDogs, in exchange for Mitch Theoret and a conditional 2nd round pick in 2016. The IceDogs also got a 6th-rounder in 2015 with Perlini.
He finished out that season with Niagara, notching seven goals and three assists in 27 games. He also had three points in five playoff games with the IceDogs.
Perlini’s sophomore season in Niagara would see him produce significant numbers offensively, scoring 34 goals and adding 37 assists for 71 points in 58 games. He also had one assist in seven playoff games before the IceDogs were eliminated from contention for the OHL championship.
Brendan Perlini was also named a finalist for the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year, an honor that was eventually given to 2015 draft prospect Connor McDavid. Perlini was named to the 2013-14 OHL Scholastic Team as the IceDogs representative.
After his OHL season ended, Perlini went on to represent Canada at the 2014 U-18 Championships. He had five points (3-2) in seven games and won a bronze medal with Canada during the tournament, which was held in Lappeenranta and Imatra, Finland.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
So, what are others saying about Brendan Perlini and his upcoming status in the NHL Draft?
- EliteProspects.com hails Perlini as a “lethal combination of speed, puck skills, and hockey sense.”
- The Hockey News noted Perlini’s size and strength, two factors of his game that will only continue to develop in the coming years.
- An Edmonton Journal piece noted his “reach” as a solid attribute and called Perlini an “enticing package of size, skill and speed,” noting that his offensive awareness is already well-above the OHL level.
- “Perlini’s skill level is high-end and his ability to take what the defense gives him allows him to create offense naturally rather than forcing plays.” – The Scouting Report
- Highlight reel from the 2013-2014 OHL season: Brendan Perlini [Youtube]
Perlini is expected to attend the NHL Combine later this month in Toronto prior to the NHL Draft in late June.