The son of a longtime NHLer broke Auston Matthews’ single-season junior scoring record

Photo credit:courtesy USHL
Ryan Pike
10 months ago
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For years, the United States National Development Program (USNDP) has been a veritable hockey factory. Tons of high-end National Hockey League players have gone through Ann Arbor en route to drafting and eventual pro stardom. There are a few really promising USNDP products in the 2023 NHL Draft class.
Son of a long-time NHLer and owner of a very impressive scoring record, winger Gabe Perreault could be home run swing of a pick in the first round.

Scouting report

Born in Quebec during the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Perreault is part of a fairly prominent hockey family. His father is Yanic Perreault, who played 14 NHL seasons and currently works with the Chicago Blackhawks as a development coach. His older siblings are Jeremy (a coach with the Chicago Mission youth program), Liliane (recently finished her senior season with Mercyhurst in the NCAA) and Jacob (a 2020 first-round pick by Anaheim).
Perreault is listed at 5’11” and 165 pounds, and he’s a left shot winger. A May 2005 birthday, he’s one of the younger players in the draft class. He has dual Canadian/American citizenship, but he represented the United States in international competitions.
If there’s one thing you need to know about Perreault, it’s this: the kid can put up offensive numbers. He’s the guy that broke Auston Matthews’ single-season points record with the USNDP. (Yeah, he’s that kid.)
Here’s some notes on Perreault, via Brandon Holmes of FC Hockey:
Gabriel Perreault is a dynamic offensive weapon who uses his skill to find his way into scoring areas on the ice. The standout in Perreault’s game is his creativity and stickhandling ability. He has gifted hands and is regularly looking to challenge opposing defenders one-on-one with his skill to open up space off the rush or find his way through traffic with the puck on his stick. He is a volume shooter who rarely passes up opportunities to get the puck on net, often taking the looks that are presented to him while still being mostly disciplined in his shot selection. He does a good job of fighting his way into high-danger areas in the offensive zone, making himself available for passes to the slot from his teammates as well as opportunities at rebounds and deflections around the crease. He processes play with the puck on his stick in the mindset of a goal scorer, though he does possess capable playmaking ability with strong vision and reliable passing accuracy. Perreault is a fairly agile skater, though I believe his straightline speed could use some work, as his stride length and acceleration were fairly inconsistent and an added gear in terms of speed could open up even more offensive opportunities for him off of the rush. In future viewings, I would like to see Perreault continue to work on his skating and add more strength to his frame to both hold up against larger opponents as well as get more power behind his shot. At the moment, I would project Perreault as a potential top-six winger at the NHL level and is worthy of a pick in the top-30 of the 2023 draft.
Here’s a bit more, via Dobber Prospects’ Alexander Annun:
Perreault is having a fantastic sophomore season with the NTDP as he is the highest scorer on the team with 110 points in 55 games, good for a perfect two points per game average. This is an incredible increase in production from last season and the chemistry he has shown with fellow Boston College commits Will Smith and Ryan Leonard has been remarkable. Perreault’s game is built with a strong foundation of forechecking and work ethic, and he layers that with high-level skill and speed to make himself a real pain in the side of the opposition. He is an intelligent player who makes quick, and more importantly smart, decisions with the puck and quickly moves into support areas to make himself an option again. He has the puck skills and confidence to take his man in a 1 v 1 situation and once he is able to get past his defender the offensive zone opens up for him and he gets to showcase his playmaking ability. He has great accuracy and zip on his passes and does a nice job hitting tight windows and leading his teammates into space. He remains a pass-first player but shows good killer instincts around the net and has quick hands to get his shot off and has improved his goal-scoring ability.
Is Perreault a gigantic physical specimen? Nope. Is he teeny, tiny? Nah. He’s skinny, but if you look at his older brother – now listed at 6’0″ and 196 pounds – you can imagine the younger Perreault filling out a bit. If a team can help Perreault get a bit thicker and maybe tidy up his skating mechanics a bit, he could be an excellent pick-up.
Perreault is committed to Boston College for the 2023-24 season, where he’ll be coached by Greg Brown, who was part of the staff that sent the likes of Johnny Gaudreau and Cam Atkinson to the NHL.

The numbers

The USNDP plays a weird schedule, which features a mixture of games against teams from the United States Hockey League, colleges, and international teams. Between all of those opponents, Perreault had 53 goals and 132 points in 63 games.
In 23 games against USHL opponents, he had 19 goals and 45 points. On a per-game basis, only teammate Will Smith’s 2.10 points-per-game beat out Perreault’s 1.96. In the entire league.
In the Under-18 World Championships, Perreault had 18 points in seven games. America won gold and Perreault was named a top-three player on his team and led the entire tournament in assists.
In the entire season, Perreault had points in 50 of 63 games. He led his team in goals, game-winning goals, points and assists. He was tied with Smith for the team lead in even-strength goals.
Sure, he played on a team that was stacked, as the USNDP often is. But he produced at an extremely high clip, and even if you want to discount his crazy numbers as being partially a product of the guys around him, he probably would still be worth a first-round selection for his ability to score with regularity.

Availability and fit

The last time we checked, the team that scores the most goals tends to win hockey games. And Perreault scores a lot of goals and also finds ways to set up his teammates for goals. He’s college-bound and so the Flames might not get their hands on him for a year or two, but he seems like somebody who would fit a lot of their ongoing needs.
Will he still be around at 16th overall? The scouting consensus is a definitive maybe: he’s 21st by McKeen’s, 19th by Sportsnet, 15th by Daily Faceoff, 9th by Bob McKenzie, 8th by Scott Wheeler and 12th by Corey Pronman. He feels like somebody that will either slip down to the Flames, or agonizingly be gone immediately before they pick.

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