Devils Draft Series: Jacob Perreault, Goal-Scoring Power Play Weapon

Jacob Perreault is regarded as a mid-to-late first-round pick. (Photo by Mark Malone/Chatham Daily News/Postmedia Network)

Profile

Jacob Perreault is an 18-year old center, who will most likely translate as a right-wing professionally. He has a solid frame, at 5-foot-11, 192 pounds. The right-handed Canadian played the majority of his junior career in the United States, before coming to the OHL in the 2018-19 season to play for the Sarnia Sting. In the final 2020 Draft Prospect Rankings, Perreault ranks 17th among North American skaters.  

The Statistics

As stated, the Canadian Perreault started his junior career in the United States. In the 2016-17 season, he played 20 games in the High Performance Major Bantam League, scoring 15 goals and contributing seven assists. These 22 points ranked fourth among 102 players. The following year, he played in the under-16 segment of the same league, totaling 14 goals and 11 assists in 20 games, which led the 150-player league.

Perreault made his OHL debut with Sarnia during the 2018-19 season. He had a solid draft minus-one season, scoring 30 goals and a total of 55 points in 63 games. This season he scored 39 goals and a total of 70 points in only 57 games. Of these 70 points, 29 came via the power play and 15 of his 37 goals were also on the power play. He also held a minus-34 rating on a team that was one of the OHL’s worst defensively and overall. 

Perreault’s Scouting Report

Strengths

For a projected mid-to-late first-round pick, Perreault has a pretty solid game. His main strength is his shot. He is one of the better goal scorers in the whole draft, as is evident by his gaudy goal totals throughout his junior career. He seems to shoot from anywhere, which may not always be a good thing. But in his case, no shot is a bad shot, as he has a special talent to getting the puck to the net. 

His playmaking is an extremely underrated part of his game. Of his 33 assists many were primary, meaning he was the primary table-setter in most goals he was involved in. His stickhandling is also an area of his game that is solid, which is good to see given his size. 

For his size, there are several aspects of his skating that are tremendous. He is also extremely lethal on the power play, as he had 29 points and 15 goals at this strength.

Overall, Perreault does a lot well. And in terms of pure abilities there is not any specific one that needs a ton of work.

Weaknesses

Perreault’s main area of concern is his defense. He was on the ice for an insane 81 even-strength goals against; this number is one of the highest in the OHL. These struggles do not completely have to do with his so-called defensive abilities, rather than the mental aspect of his game in this area.

He just does not put forth the needed effort and consistency needed to be effective in this area of the ice. Of course, his positioning and awareness need to improve also, as well as he needs to think the game through a little better in this area. 

It is worth mentioning, the OHL is notoriously known as a league with weak defensive structure, and Sarnia was no exception last year. Hopefully, with better coaching, Perreault can make the needed improvements in this area.

A few other areas where Perreault can improve is his overall speed, using his strength more effectively, and limiting turnovers, as watching him you can see he is prone to these. It’s also worth being wary of his large reliance on the power play for his point production, as 41% of his points and goals were via the power play this season.

Projection

Perreault has top-six upside as a terrific goal-scorer and elite force on the powerplay. However, these expectations hinge heavily on whether or not he’ll adjust his mindset in the defensive end. His defensive game has many thinking that the career center will translate as a wing at the professional level. Which in the long run should help him develop defensively to become this top-six, goal-scoring force.

Perreault does bring some risk in selecting him, largely due to his defensive concerns. However, for me, this risk is less than the injury risk associated with Hendrix Lapierre or the rawness with William Wallinder. Expect Perreault to go off the board anywhere between picks 20-25. 

Fit With the Devils

Perreault is another player that would be a candidate for the Devils to take if they traded down in round one. However, with the recent NHLPA announcement of the 24-team return-to-play format, it is hard to project where the Devils owned first-round picks are going to be.

If say the Vancouver Canucks’ pick ends up being in the 20s, Perreault would be worth the consideration. He checks several of the boxes the Devils need: a right-wing, goal scorer with prowess on the power play. So he’d be a solid addition for the red and black.

Ranking of Evaluated Prospects

1. Alexis Lafrenière (no profile will be released)

2. Tim Stützle (05/07/2020)

3. Quinton Byfield (05/08/2020)

4. Marco Rossi (04/30/2020)

5. Lucas Raymond (04/28/2020)

6. Jamie Drysdale (05/01/2020)

7. Alexander Holtz (04/29/2020)

8. Cole Perfetti (05/06/2020)

9. Yaroslav Askarov (05/05/2020)

10. Anton Lundell (05/11/2020)

11. Seth Jarvis (05/13/2020)

12. Jake Sanderson (05/04/2020)

13. Dawson Mercer (05/16/2020)

14. Noah Gunler (05/19/2020)

15. Rodion Amirov (05/12/2020)

16. Jack Quinn (05/09/2020)

17. Dylan Holloway (05/14/2020)

18. Connor Zary (05/15/2020)

19. Jacob Perreault (Today)

20. Maverik Bourque (05/20/2020)

21. Hendrix Lapierre (05/21/2020)

22. William Wallinder (05/23/2020)

23. Lukas Reichel (05/18/2020)

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