The annual SB Nation NHL Mock Draft has started and the Carolina Hurricanes are on deck with the 7th pick.
The Panthers selected Aaron Ekblad at number one, then the Sabres took Sam Bennett, and the Oilers went for Leon Draisaitl at number three. The Flames brought two brothers together with the selection of Sam Reinhart, and the Islanders took Michael Dal Colle with the fifth selection.
The Canucks were next and selected Jake Virtanen with their pick, after which there was a collective grown from the Hurricanes table.
Even though he is currently injured, Virtanen would be perfect for the Canes. He's fast, tough, physical, and has a great shot. In addition to that, he has some size and knows how to use it, which the Hurricanes crave.
My mind was made up to pick Virtanen at number seven if he was still there, but since he was gone my mind was churning. On my list were two possible superstars who were still available in William Nylander and Nickolaj Ehlers, but they are a bit under-sized. There was a big bruiser still left, Nick Ritchie, and there was another forward with size, Brendan Perlini.
I went with Perlini.
This forward, listed at almost 6'3 and 205 pounds has size of his own and perhaps should even grow a bit more as well as fill out some. But in addition to his size, he has very good speed and an excellent shot. Perlini finished with 34 goals and 37 assists playing for Niagara of the OHL last year.
Here is what some of the scouting services had to say:
He plays an unselfish game moving the puck around and he gets his stick on pucks and arrives on time for chances. He's a good shooter and has a good touch finishing chances."
"Great past month 23 PTS in 11 GP w/ +10 rating. Total package w/ lethal offensive weapons" - Nov. 23rd, 2013 The ISS has Perlini at number seven overall, ahead of Virtanen, Ehlers, and Ritchie, (but behind Nylander.)
Size and speed – This is the right combination for an NHL winger and at 6’3, 205 lb. with excellent acceleration and quickness, Brendan has it.
Skills galore – Long reach, good puck possession, good shot, excellent passer.
Finish – Quick release, last minute dangle, down on one knee – what’s not to like!
Physicality – Needs to be more consistent in using his body to make things happen in the offensive zone because when he does, good things happen.
Draft placement – Latter half of top 10 if he continues to produce at a healthy clip; not likely to drop beyond 15 in any event.
Reminds me of – A hybrid combo of Jeff Carter with Max Pacioretty.
Profile from: Eldon MacDonald and Chris Ralph of The Hockey Writers - updated Feb. 27th
Perlini is a lethal combination of speed, puck skills, and hockey sense which allow him to make dynamic plays in all three zones. He plays a high puck possession game and thrives when the puck in on his stick.
While it was very close, Perlini finished sixth with 138 total points, according to the consensus ratings at My NHL Draft. This report awarded each player a certain number of points, depending upon where the prospect was rated by numerous rating services. His placement was ahead of Ritchie, Ehlers, Nylander, and Virtanen.
Coincidentally, while the forward was born in England, he lists the same hometown as Ron Francis, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
While he needs to work on his defense and use his body a bit more, Brendan Perlini should make fine addition to the future of the Hurricanes and I believe he is a safe pick at this point in the draft.