The wait was a little longer than he expected - but it was worth it for Coyotes prospect Brendan Perlini
when he stepped on the ice Friday morning for the first on-ice workout of Training Camp at Gila River Arena.
Despite being drafted 12th overall by the Coyotes last year, Perlini had to wait a year to see any action in his first veterans camp after sustaining a hand injury in a Rookie Game against the Los Angeles Kings last September.
Earlier this week he completed his second Rookie Camp and emerged healthy.
“It’s been good,” said Perlini, who scored two goals vs. the Kings in two Rookie Games this week. “The rookie camp went really well. I was excited to play some games. (Last year) was pretty tough. I was so excited to come into camp and play with the guys but I never had a major injury like that before where I required surgery. So it was kind of a learning process.”
On Friday, Perlini played in a group with captain Shane Doan, Antoine Vermette and Mike Smith.
|Brendan Perlini. Photo by Norm Hall. |
"Obviously, the first day was pretty tough but it was fun," Perlini said. "It was nice to finally get the first day out of the way and skate with the pro guys.”
The injury he suffered last year not only forced him to miss the Coyotes main camp, but he also missed significant time with his Ontario Hockey League club in Niagara. Perlini eventually made his season debut on Dec. 4 and finished the regular season with 26 goals and 34 assists for 60 points in 43 games, which was good for third on his team in scoring.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett got a close-up look at Perlini’s first veteran camp drills on Friday and talked afterward about the type of game Perlini has brought to Arizona this year.
“He’s got a dynamic element to his game,” Tippett said. “If he gets on a partial breakaway or gets outside speed he can be real effective. There’s other parts of his game that he needs to work on; arriving in 'D' zone coverage, a little bit of the checking part of it, but those are details all young players have to learn. But he certainly has a dynamic part, a goal-scoring part that certainly makes him a unique player.”
A key member of the organization who has helped Perlini fine tune his game for the NHL level is Development Coach Steve Sullivan. Perlini says working with Sullivan has been very beneficial to him since he was drafted in June of last year.
“For me, it was nice being back in junior having Sully (Sullivan) come to the games and always talk to me about how I was playing,” said Perlini, a UK-born Canadian. “It was nice from that aspect, and then now here, it’s good.”
And now Perlini is hoping that the work and fine tuning that he has put into his game under Sullivan’s tutelage will turn heads at camp.
“I want to stay around here (in camp),” Perlini said. “…I want to be here a while. I’m taking it day-by-day and just trying to learn a lot.”