The 2020 NHL Draft will be October 6 & 7, conducted remotely. The Calgary Flames have a first round selection and will pick 19th overall. In advance of the draft, we’ll be looking at some contenders to be selected at 19th.
Today’s target? Jacob Perreault, a speedy, stocky right-winger from the Sarnia Sting who has one of the best shots in the draft.
Jacob Perreault is the son of longtime NHL faceoff king Yanic Perreault, and he looks to have a good chance at being a solid NHL player like his dad—at the very least. Yanic was a very cerebral NHLer who was effective in every zone and who could chip in the odd goal here and there. But Jacob has the tools of a top-tier offensive force.
Perreault’s elite attribute is his wicked wrister. He has soft hands and deceptive lateral movement that allows him to adjust his angle when bearing down on goalies. He scored 30 goals as a 16-year-old OHL rookie and managed to better that feat this year. He can beat goalies from anywhere, often scoring from ridiculous angles.
But Perreault isn’t a one-trick pony. He won the skating competition at the Top Prospects Game, although his speed with the puck has room for improvement. Like his dad, he’s strong on face-offs: he won almost 58% of his draws this year, despite primarily playing the wing. He’s average-sized, at 5’11”, but his thick 192-pound frame and his low centre of gravity allow him to create room for himself to operate.
Here’s what Dobber Prospects’ Tony Ferrari has to say about Perreault’s shot:
The 2020 NHL Draft features a variety of high-end finishers. From Alexander Holtz and Jack Quinn to Cole Perfetti and Quinton Byfield, there are several players with 30+ goal potential at the NHL level. Jacob Perreault is not only a top-five finisher, he’s likely better than at least a couple of those players when it comes to raw shooting talent. Outside of Alexander Holtz, he could have the best shot in the draft class. He has the ability to score from anywhere in the offensive zone because of his lethal release and scorching snap shot. He fires the puck from a variety of body positions and doesn’t need to be perfectly set up in a good shooting position.
Andrew Forbes of The Hockey Writers had this to say about Perreault’s potential:
The potential to be a force in the NHL is there. For those who are old enough to remember his father’s NHL career know that at time he was underrated during his playing days. The same likely won’t be said about the younger Perreault, whose shot and ability to control the game will make him a legitimate top-six forward in the coming years. That said, he will need to continue to round out the rest of his game if he wants to make that jump sooner than later.
Perreault is a right-handed sniper who plays ailier droit, something the Flames have been looking for since Jarome Iginla’s departure. Of course, those are Hall of Fame-sized shoes to fill, but if the Flames are looking for someone to play on Matthew Tkachuk’s opposite wing, Perreault should be high on their list.
Perreault tied with Jack Quinn for the OHL lead for power play goals by a first-year eligible draftee with 15 in 2019–20. His minus-34 rating ranked in the bottom-10 in the league and dead-last on the Sting, but that’s not too concerning given that Sarnia’s very porous defense and goaltending contributed to the team allowing the most goals and finishing dead-last in the OHL’s Western Conference.
Perreault’s 39 goals in 57 games ranked in a tie for 10th in the OHL in scoring, with only Quinn ranking ahead of him for first-year eligible draftees (Ottawa’s Marco Rossi also scored 39). His 70 points ranked him in a tie alongside Dallas top prospect Ty Dellandrea for 31st in the OHL, behind his first-year eligible counterparts Rossi, Cole Perfetti, Quinn, Tyson Foerster, and Quinton Byfield.
Availability and fit
Elias Lindholm and Derek Ryan were the Flames’ only two regular right-handed forwards this year. They’d love to add to that collection. With Dillon Dube and Sam Bennett potentially projecting as centres down the line, the Flames will have a few spots open up on their right flanks. Sean Monahan is really the Flames’ only pure sniper right now, and GM Brad Treliving has repeatedly tried to add more skilled shooters to his team during his tenure—with little success.
Perreault is a reasonably safe bet to be available for the Flames at pick 19. If you ask TSN’s Craig Button, he’s not even a first-round lock: he has Perreault ranked 40th. But he’s 21st on Bob McKenzie’s list, 23rd over at FC Hockey, 26th at Dobber Hockey, 27th at ISS, and 28th at McKeen’s.