Of the top prospects available in the 2014 NHL Draft, Brendan Perlini has one of the more unique hockey upbringings.
Perlini, 18, was born in Guildford, a small town in Surrey, England. Though not exactly a prosperous hockey market, that’s where his father, Fred, finished out his 17-year playing career.
Fred was an eighth-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft and played just eight games over parts of two seasons in the National Hockey League, scoring two goals and five points. After four seasons in the American Hockey League, Fred took a trek across the pond, where he would log 10 years in the British Hockey League, regularly scoring 130-plus points each season. His last three seasons were spent with the Guildford Flames; Brendan was born in April of 1996, and the 1996-97 campaign would be Fred’s last.
Brendan had his first experience of organized hockey at a rink 20 minutes south of London and moved to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, as a young boy.
|LEFT WING |
|HOMETOWN: SAULT STE. MARIE, ONTARIO |
|HEIGHT: 6'3" |
|WEIGHT: 205 |
|BIRTHDAY: APRIL 27, 1996 (AGE 18) |
Now, after his second season in the Ontario Hockey League and first full season with the Niagara IceDogs, Perlini is an offensive standout and the NHL’s Central Scouting Service’s eighth-ranked North American skater.
“He’s a sniper who can shoot the puck,” said Tony MacDonald, the Canes’ head of amateur scouting. “He’s got a National Hockey League release.”
In 2013-14, Perlini led his team in goals (34) and power-play goals (16). He scored a team-second-best 71 points, a drastic jump from the 12 points he posted as an OHL rookie with Barrie and Niagara just a season prior, and was voted the Eastern Conference’s most improved player in the annual OHL coaches’ poll.
“It’s tough to find guys who can skate and shoot the puck like he does,” MacDonald said.
In offering up a comparison many Canes fans will be familiar with, MacDonald likened Perlini’s skill set to that of Erik Cole’s.
“He has that kind of speed,” he said. “He’s got great speed and a great shot. He plays that type of game.”
In the size department, Perlini is already reasonably built at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds. MacDonald said he could stand to add some more edge to this game, though.
“He’s a big guy with good size,” he said. “If he leaned on people more and became more aggressive and more physical, that would serve him well.”
Following his breakout campaign with Niagara, Perlini skated on the bronze-medal-winning Canadian national team in the IIHF U-18 World Championship. The winger ranked tied for second on the team in goals (3) and tied for third on the team in points (4) in seven tournament games.