Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Jacob Perreault.
The 19th overall pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection Draft, Jacob Perreault surprised many with an outstanding rookie season. The son of former NHLer Yanic Perreault scored 30 goals and added 25 assists for 55 points in 63 games as a 16-year-old. He was named to the OHL All-Rookie Team and finished fourth in OHL rookie scoring. Perreault also played for Team Canada Red at the 2018 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, scoring two goals in six tournament games.
Perreault was even better this season. He scored 39 goals and 31 assists for 70 points in just 57 games for the rebuilding Sarnia Sting. Born in Montreal, Perreault has dual Canada/US citizenship. While he has not played in any IIHF sanctioned tournaments yet, the fact that he choose to play for Team Canada at the Under-17 is a good indication that he will commit to Canada when the time comes. Perreault also attended Team Canada camp ahead of last summer’s Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. However, with a deep roster, he was one of the team’s last cuts before the tournament. Perreault played at the CHL Top Prospects Game.
His sister, Liliane Perreault is playing NCAA Division-1 Hockey for Mercyhurst.
Jacob Perreault Scouting Report
Right Wing/Centre — shoots Right
Born April 15th, 2002 — Montreal, Quebec
Height 5’11” — Weight 192 lbs [180 cm / 87 kg]
Perreault was one of the best skaters at the CHL Top Prospects Game, coming in first in multiple events including the forward skate, forward skate with puck, reaction time, and weave agility with puck. He was also second or third in a number of other categories.
He is an absolutely elite skater with outstanding speed and acceleration. Perreault has a lightning-quick first step. He also has excellent agility and edgework. Perreault is deadly on the rush and in one-on-one situations. One area that Perreault can improve is with his balance. He can be knocked off the puck at times. As he continues to develop, he will need to get stronger in his lower body. This will give him the ability to fight through checks and to be better in battles along the boards.
Perreault is a dangerous offensive player. Perreault combines his slick hands with his excellent skating ability. This makes him extremely dangerous in one-on-one situations. He can take a defenceman wide, drop his shoulder and cut hard to the front of the net. Perreault can also fake that he is going wide and cut to the middle. His ability to quickly change speeds also fools defenders. As they back off to respect his speed, he can use the defenceman as a screen and fire the puck at the net.
Perreault can also score in a variety of ways. He has the moves to beat goalies in tight, an excellent wrist shot with a deceptive release, an outstanding one-timer, a very good snapshot, as well as a strong backhand. His vision and hockey IQ are also very strong for his age. He gets open without the puck and usually makes smart passes to teammates when he has it in the offensive zone. Perreault can run the powerplay off the half boards, using his stickhandling to slow down the play or speed it up. He can take a shot from the circle or use his vision and passing skills to create offensive chances for a teammate.
Perreault’s defensive game is very much a work in progress. He needs to work on his maturity as he has a tendency to puck watch and stop moving his feet. He can also abandon the defensive zone early, looking for a long breakaway pass. Perreault needs to be harder on the puck and more physical on the boards. He can also be a bit careless with the puck at times. Perreault has a tendency to make bad giveaways in the neutral zone that lead to scoring chances against. While he usually makes the smart play, when he makes these types of errors, they are glaring and lead to good scoring chances for an opponent.
Projection and Comparison
Perreault has the offensive skills to take on a top-six role in the NHL, either at centre or on the wing. However, his defensive skills must improve a lot if he is going to be able to play in the middle at the pro level. The mistakes he makes will absolutely drive coaches nuts at the next level. His inconsistent defensive play probably cost him a spot on Team Canada’s Hlinka-Gretzky team. He will be back in the OHL next year, and probably for the next two years working on adding this consistency. Perreault’s game is reminiscent of Mathew Barzal but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Jacob Perreault that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Jacob Perreault Main Photo:
WINDSOR, ONTARIO – FEBRUARY 18: Forward Jacob Perreault #44 of the Sarnia Sting skates prior to a game against the Windsor Spitfires at the WFCU Centre on February 18, 2020, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)