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 Cole Perfetti.
Cole Perfetti finished second in OHL scoring this season. He put up 37 goals and 74 assists for 111 points in 61 games for the Saginaw Spirit. He was outstanding at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup with eight goals and 12 points in just five games. Perfetti also came up big in the semi-final shootout win over Sweden, scoring three shootout goals. His performance helped Team Canada come home with the silver medal.
The fifth overall pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Draft, Perfetti led all OHL rookies in goals and points last season. He was named to the OHL All-Rookie Team. Overall he had 37 goals and 74 points in 63 games. Perfetti also added eight goals and 14 points in 16 playoff games. Perfetti also excelled on the international stage, putting up two goals and seven assists for nine points in five games at the Under 17 World Hockey Challenge. He led the tournament in assists.
Cole Perfetti Scouting Report
Center/Left Wing — shoots Left
Born January 1st, 2002 — Whitby, Ontario
Height 5’11” — Weight 177 lbs [180 cm/80 kg]
Perfetti can use some work on his first few steps and his overall speed. While he is not slow, he also is not amongst the quickest or fastest skaters in the class. Perfetti could work with a good skating coach and improve his stride in the coming years. The rest of his footwork is very good though. His edgework and agility allow him to make quick cuts and to shake defenders. He also has a low centre of gravity and good lower body strength. This gives Perfetti the ability to fight through checks and makes him tough to knock off the puck. He is good at establishing position in front of the net as well as winning battles along the boards.
Perfetti has outstanding hands. He can make moves in a phone booth. Perfetti combines his hands with his ability to make quick cuts and changes of direction. This makes him extremely dangerous in one-on-one situations whether it be working out of the cycle or coming in off the rush. He uses his quick moves to create shooting and passing lanes. Perfetti sees the ice extremely well and only needs to create a small amount of space to be able to set up a linemate. His ability to control the puck down low allows him to maintain puck possession in the cycle game. He is a smart player who almost always makes the right play with the puck.
Perfetti is a sniper. He has an outstanding wrist shot, featuring power, accuracy, and a very quick release. He also has a strong snapshot and an excellent one-timer. Perfetti can even score on the back hand. His quick hands also allow him to score in close to the net, where he can make a quick move on a goaltender, bury a rebound or a pass from a teammate, or deflect a shot. Despite his smaller size, Perfetti is willing to get involved in battles on the boards as well as get in quickly on the forecheck and pressure opposing defenders and create turnovers.
Perfetti shows a willingness to contribute at the defensive end of the ice. He uses his high-end hockey IQ to read the play and maintain the proper positioning. He also has a quick stick to intercept passes and to poke check opponents. While he is not afraid of contact and playing physical, his lack of size and strength can be a detriment when facing bigger forwards. He could also use a bit more work in the faceoff circle if he is to be a centre in the NHL.
Projection and Comparison
There is some question as to whether Perfetti will be a centre or a left-wing at the NHL level, however, his offensive talent means that no matter what position he settles in at, he can be a first-line forward. In order to play at centre at the pro level, Perfetti will need to work on his speed and his acceleration. He likely needs more time at the junior level and should be a big part of Canada’s 2021 entry at the World Juniors. Perfetti’s game is reminiscent of Nick Suzuki but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Cole Perfetti that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Cole Perfetti Main Photo:
OSHAWA, ON – OCTOBER 06: Cole Perfetti #91 of the Saginaw Spirit skates with the puck during an OHL game against the Oshawa Generals at the Tribute Communities Centre on October 6, 2019, in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)