DOB: April 27, 1996
Height & Weight: 6’3″ & 212lbs
This week’s Eyes On column features a young Arizona Coyote, Mr. Brendan Perlini. The former Niagara IceDog is entering his third NHL season. He was drafted back in 2014 in the first round. He may be one of the best-kept secrets in the Coyotes’ organization. The potential for Perlini is through the roof and we are going to tell you why.
In the past two seasons, Perlini has put up 51 points in 131 NHL games played. During the 2016-17 season, he also spent time in the AHL with the Tucson Roadrunners and put up 19 points in 17 games played. For a young forward, the numbers above are a good starting point. They won’t blow you away like the numbers accumulated by Jack Eichel or Connor McDavid, but the points are trending in the right direction.
One of Perlini’s biggest assets is his size. He stands at six foot three inches and weighs 211 pounds. That is one big player. He uses his big frame to keep players away from the puck. In today’s NHL, it can’t hurt to bring a big body to the table. With someone of his size, he can put pressure on opposing defensemen and really crunch them into the boards. In this example below, Perlini shows off how he can use his body in the right way.
Perlini drives the net hard and uses his big frame to screen the goalie. Eventually, the shot comes in, and he gets a perfect tip on the puck. It slides right by into the net. Every team needs a player like this. A player willing to go hard to the net, pick up the loose ends and put them into the net.
In addition to his size, there is another element that Perlini adds to the Coyotes’ lineup. You have your skill players such as Oliver-Ekman Larsson and Clayton Keller, and your two-way players such as Derek Stepan and Marcus Kruger, but Perlini is something different. When you look up and down their roster, the Coyotes don’t really have a true power forward. Perlini is that power forward. He can go hard to the net and get physical with others. Not many players in today’s NHL can do that. Let’s look at the play below.
Perlini circles the wagons and picks up a lot of speed through the neutral zone. He gets the pass and enters the offensive zone. He cuts into the middle of the ice with a creative move. Then he toe-drags the puck around the defensemen to his backhand. In a split second, he moves the puck to his forehand and protects it from the opposing defensemen. Then he drives the net and puts up a sweet goal. That was one awesome play and a glimpse of what we could see in the future.
On the flip side, Perlini has struggled at times in his career. Consistency has been his biggest deficiency so far. It is the reason that he has not had a full-time job in the NHL in the past. This issue haunted him during his OHL days too. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t turn a corner.
There is a lot of veteran leadership in the Arizona locker room that can help him reach his potential. Many hockey people don’t know about him though. He might be one of the best-kept secrets in the NHL to date. Watch out Coyotes fans, Perlini is going to make a big splash next year and help put this team back into winning ways.