USHL product Jayden Perron is a small but dynamic offensive player
Photo credit:courtesy USHL
By Ryan Pike3 months ago
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In every draft, there are a few players that are a little polarizing. These players are always objectively strong performers at lower levels of hockey, but for reasons that usually revolve around size, there are questions about how effectively they could translate their skill-sets to the pro game.
College-bound Chicago Steel winger Jayden Perron has been a dynamic offensive player for two seasons in American junior hockey. But given his diminutive stature, there’s a question about if he can do the same things at higher levels.
Perron is a Winnipeg product with a January 2005 birthday. He’s listed at 5’9″ and 165 pounds, and he’s a right shot forward who plays primarily on the wing.
Perron made his way up through Winnipeg-area minor hockey, but he was recruited to the United States Hockey League’s Chicago Steel in 2021. That’s the same team that produced 2021 Flames first-rounder Matt Coronato. Perron was named to the USHL’s second all-rookie team in 2021-22 after a strong first season with the Steel.
Over at Dobber Prospects, Sebastian High wrote this scouting report:
Apart from Connor Bedard, Jayden Perron may be the best off-puck offensive mover in the draft class. His nearly unparalleled knack for finding space in the slot and timing those decisive routes to fall behind coverage forms the crux of his offensive upside, as he thinks the game at a high enough level to indicate the translatability of this habit. He will score his goals by consistently being in the right place at the right time, but his playmaking is his best offensive tool. He is a strong handler who attacks with pace and who is able to access passing lanes defenders weren’t even aware were available by passing through multiple layers of coverage. His defensive game and tenacity are also significant strengths, and Perron will not be one of the undersized players who give up a lot defensively in order to to produce. He remains raw and will need at least three years of development before turning pro – with a specific focus on building lower body strength and on incorporating more pace shifts and lateral movement into his transition game – but the upside is very high in this player. He will not be drafted as high as we have him, and he is likely to fall to day two of the draft, but we are so confident in both his tools and his brain that his falling any further than 13 on our board would become difficult for us to rationalize.
Clare McManus wrote this assessment as part of Smaht Scouting’s draft rankings:
Jayden Perron is an undersized forward in the draft, but doesn’t let that get in the way as he shines offensively. He can serve as a duel-threat attack both as a playmaker and goal-scorer. With the puck on his stick, he is super evasive and fools the opposition with his slick hands and patience with the puck. When Perron uses his mobility and puck-handling skills to enter the offensive-zone, he becomes an immediate threat to the other team. He has good straight-line speed, but could work on developing a longer skating stride, which would make him even more dangerous of a player. His balance and edge work make him very dangerous when you combine that with his stick-handling ability. Perron can be a hard player to knock off the puck as he uses his lower-body and edges to block defenders. On the power play, he can play on the point as the quarterback as well as led the breakout of the defensive zone. The only thing Perron will have to work on in his offensive game is to not be overly flashy at times.
Perron is committed to the University of North Dakota for 2023-24. As an undersized forward, he’s a bit of a longer-term project than other potential first-rounders may be.
As part of a strong Chicago Steel team, Perron was one of their best offensive players. In 61 games in 2022-23, he had 24 goals, 48 assists and 72 points. League-wide, he was tied for fifth in points, tied for 22nd in goals, and third in assists. Among under-18 players, he was second in points, tied for fourth in goals, and led the league in assists.
The Steel were a pretty stacked team, but Perron more than held up his end of the bargain in terms of puck distribution and burying the chances that were put on his stick.
Availability and fit
The USHL has emerged as a really strong reservoir of NHL talent, and the Flames have heavily scouted the league. Between that and Perron’s roots in Manitoba, the Flames probably have a good book on him. He’s small, yes, but he’s a dynamic offensive player who’s showed the ability to play with high-end talent in the USHL. But his size will probably cause him to slide down draft boards a little bit, primarily because he may face some challenges translating everything he does well to the next level.
Perhaps based on some potential translational challenges, Perron is a large-to-borderline first-rounder in the scouting consensus. He’s 25th on FC Hockey’s rankings and 29th on Scott Wheeler’s, but he’s otherwise not in the first round of most public rankings. He’s not far off from the first round, but when the Flames select at 16th overall he would be seen as a bit of a reach.
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