Winnipeg Jets Land Cole Perfetti With The 10th Overall Pick

Center brings high-end skill to Winnipeg Jets prospect pool – 

The Winnipeg Jets hope they’ve finally found a solution for their second-line center spot.  The Jets, have tried plugging the 2C hole with rentals in recent years.

With the 10th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Jets picked Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL.  In a classy move, the club allowed Crystal Hawerchuk, the widow of the late Dale Hawerchuk, to make the pick.

Cole Perfetti lit up the OHL this year with 111 points in only 61 games — 31 more points than the next highest scoring player on his team.  His elite hockey IQ might make him the smartest player in this draft.  He’s got elite passing and can put the puck in the net. Although there are some concerns around his skating and his defensive play, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see him go at #4.  I’m not quite sure why he fell, but it’s looking like a steal of a deal for Winnipeg.

His stickhandling, passing, and IQ make him a dangerous playmaker.  Perhaps the perfect linemate for a certain Finnish sniper?

Although Perfetti could always transition to winger, I think the Jets see him as a possible solution at 2C.  He might even have 1C potential.  He’s that good.  I’ve read some people call him the “Canadian Kucherov.”  I don’t want to steal their player comparison, and I think that’s best-case scenario for Perfetti, but it sure makes me excited.  He’s probably at least a year, maybe two away though. He needs some time to fill out and get faster.

Scout’s adore his skill, and they say he competes hard and has some grit.  He can kill penalties and has a good shot.  He’s a high character guy too, something True North has always looked for.  The main concern with him is he’s undersized and not a great skater. Hopefully, his skating can be improved, a la Mark Stone and others whose lack of speed was thought to hold them back.

Perfetti had success internationally as well, scoring eight goals and 12 points in five games at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, helping Canada to a silver medal.

Analysis: 

Much like the Ville Heinola selection last year, I’m stoked with this pick. Hockey IQ is the number one thing I look for in prospects.  It’s impossible to teach but so important to success in the NHL.  Often you’ll see players with poor hockey senses dominate junior because they’re bigger and faster than the other players.  Essentially, they have the tools but not the toolbox, but it doesn’t translate to the NHL.  There shouldn’t be that issue with Perfetti.  The knock on him is his speed and his defence — that can be improved.  Hockey sense can’t be, and it’s Perfetti’s bread and butter.

Although I admit I went into the draft wanting Rossi or Sanderson, it was only because I thought Perfetti would have already been gone.  He should’ve been taken between #4 and #7. If he were a bit bigger and faster, he would’ve been in the conversation for the top 3.  Getting him at #10 isn’t even fair.  It’s an outstanding pick.

Grade: A+

Name: Cole Perfetti

Position: Center

Height: 5’11″

Weight: 177 lbs

Shoots: Left

DOB: January 1, 2002

Place of Birth: Whitby, Ontario

Team: Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

2019-20 Stats:

GP: 61  G: 37  A: 74  P: 111  PIM: 16 Plus/Minus: 49

Draft: 1st round, 10th overall

Player Comparison: Claude Giroux

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