Brendan Perlini: Where Will He Be In 2015?


Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Brendan Perlini smiles as he puts on a team sweater after being selected as the number twelve overall pick to the Arizona Coyotes in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes are a team in need of offense, and they’re in need of it now.

This summer saw the desert dogs make a couple of notable changes to their offensive roster. The team’s most aggressive scorer, Radim Vrbata, was allowed to float away to Vancouver, while fan favorite fourth line plug Paul Bissonnette seems to still be floating. Controversial big-dollar superstar Mike Ribeiro was bought out due to off-ice issues with the team’s front office, and Sam Gagner, BJ Crombeen, and Joe Vitale were brought in from the outside to fill the holes left behind.

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  • The already-established NHL players signed by General Manager Don Maloney most likely won’t be enough to push the team into the postseason, though. Gagner made quick work developing a reputation for inconsistency in Edmonton, while both Crombeen and Vitale are expected to provide nothing more than consistency on the third or fourth lines.

    This is where the team’s farm system comes in- and one of the big names floating around is none other than 2014 first-round pick, Brendan Perlini.

    Perlini comes to Arizona off a career-best 71 point season with the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL. The Ontario native split his childhood between playing hockey in Canada and the United States, playing for the Belle Tire bantam AAA team in suburban Detroit before being drafted by the Barrie Colts in the first round of the 2012 OHL Entry Draft.

    According to scouting reports, the 6 foot 2 left winger is fast, talented, and smart. At eighteen, he’s got a lot going for him that many of the team’s top offensive prospects were lacking at his age. Where he’s already tall enough to hold his own in the majors, prospective centre Tyler Gaudet has needed extra years in the farm system to grow. His on and off-ice maturity look especially favorable in comparison to the hot-headed reputation of hot topic prospect Max Domi, and his speed doesn’t need as much work as legacy skater Henrik Samuelsson‘s did.

    He seems eager to make the roster, too. He’s been out and skating with the rest of the roster hopefuls since Saturday, participating with many other Coyotes draft picks in the team’s rookie training camp.

    He’s not likely to make the team this year, though.

    According to Sarah Mclellan of Arizona Central, this might actually be the year that youth-shy head coach Dave Tippett incorporates some new blood into the team’s starting lineup.

    "“With the rising cost of free agents, a sluggish trade market, and the need for change after consecutive non-playoff finishes, the Coyotes are more willing than usual to integrate youth into the roster.”"

    Despite this, though, it’s unlikely that Tippett will choose Perlini to be one of the players to step up. He may need youth on the ice, but it’s more likely that Max Domi and Henrik Samuelsson will be the choices to fill the empty left wing roster spots. Domi hit 93 points with the London Knights during his additional year in the juniors, and Samuelsson has been the coaches’ favorite at rookie camp so far.

    Due to AHL regulations, Perlini won’t qualify to play in Portland this upcoming season. Instead, it’s almost certain that he’ll be heading back to the Ice Dogs to spend another year developing. Unless he does something to push himself past both Domi and Samuelsson during the preseason- both skill-wise and consistency-wise- fans can expect to see Brendan Perlini in the OHL for at least the next season.

    The team signed Perlini to an entry-level contract just weeks after drafting him, though, suggesting that he’ll be another player called up sooner rather than later. We may not be expecting to see him on Fox Sports AZ for the 72 games being broadcast this season, but next season? If he plays his cards right, it’s highly likely that Brendan Perlini- drafted twelfth overall- will be skating out in the brick red.