|Adam Perry is hoping his OHL career and bloodlines will land him a spot in an NHL training camp this fall.|
Perry, whose older brother, Corey, is an All-Star wing for the Anaheim Ducks, was bypassed in three-straight NHL Entry Drafts, but participated in prospect development camps in both Phoenix and Chicago this month.
The feedback was positive, but now the waiting game begins. With no security blanket – Perry’s junior eligibility is gone – this summer is proving to be both pressure-packed and nerve-wracking for a player whose goal is to follow his brother into the world of professional hockey.
“Definitely, it’s stressful,” Perry told NHL.com. “I’ve got to put forward every effort I can here to be my best, to get in the best shape of my life, to really focus on hockey. I don’t have a guaranteed spot.”
Perry was better than a point-per-game player during four OHL seasons, finishing his career with 245 points (107 goals, 138 assists) in 222 games. However, he played only 18 games as a rookie in 2004-05, which was also the first year he was draft eligible.
He wasn’t surprised that all 30 teams passed on him that year, but after scoring 27 goals and dishing out 46 assists during 68 games in 2005-06, Perry thought he would hear his name called at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver.
NHL Central Scouting had him ranked No. 183 among North American skaters, too far down the 2006 list for anyone to gamble on him.
“It is kind of hard to get drafted after playing in only 18 games,” Perry said. “The next year I had 73 points and I didn’t get picked. I was kind of disappointed, so I went back, worked hard, and earned a spot in a camp.”
Perry participated in Anaheim’s rookie camp in 2006. He followed that by posting career highs in goals (45) and points (87) for the London Knights during the 2006-07 season, but was again – and for the last time – left on the draft’s cutting room floor.
However, with the draft drama behind him, Perry is now focused on making it the hard way.
He went to rookie camp last summer with the Los Angeles Kings, where he played well enough to earn an invite to their main training camp. Perry didn’t make the squad, so he returned to London for his final OHL season.
After posting 42 points in 39 games, the Knights traded him to Belleville, where he closed his junior career with 38 points in 29 games. Belleville lost to the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL playoffs.
“It definitely adds pressure,” Perry said of not having another junior season to fall back on. “I have to really work hard the rest of the summer and earn myself a contract.”
While that may sound like a daunting task, Perry has made a career out of overcoming obstacles, especially considering his amateur career nearly mirrors his brother’s -- except for the obvious fact that Corey was selected No. 5 in the 2003 draft.
Both played for the Peterborough Bees of the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League, and then for London. The Perry brothers combined for 135 points – 130 of which belonged to Corey – during the 2004-05 OHL season to lead London to the Memorial Cup championship.
It never quite worked out that way.
“It is pretty tough,” Adam Perry said of following his older brother’s path. “It made it easier going in my first year, but my second year everyone expected me to be him so it was tougher. Eventually I proved I was my own player.”
While Adam Perry was still a top scorer and key playoff contributor – he had 18 goals and 36 assists for 54 points in 60 OHL playoff games – he turned into a much grittier player than Corey was during his own OHL career.
Adam Perry says that grit and his leadership is what impressed Phoenix GM Don Maloney.
“We’re both hard-nosed players and we like to get into other guys faces and go to the net,” he said. “We do a lot of similar things, but I like to play the corners a little bit more and I seem to grind a little bit more.”
However, if he’s going to make it in pro hockey, Adam Perry believes he’s going to do it with his offensive abilities.
“That’s my game,” he said. “I have to put points on the board.”
Although, if earning a contract means he has to be a fourth-line grinder, well that would be just fine, too.
“I am just trying to make a name for myself,” Adam Perry said.