Brendan Perlini is the only player at the 2014 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game who was born in England. He is also proof-positive that the road to hockey success can be one traveled in a rather unique fashion.
His early hockey memories include traveling to play in many different European countries while being mentored by his father Fred, a former Toronto Maple Leafs forward. When the Perlini family returned to Canada, settling in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Brendan’s passion for the game continued to grow. A few seasons later, he relocated to suburban Detroit where he played for the Belle Tire bantam AAA team.
This all lead to his name being called early on at the 2012 OHL Priority Selection where he was chosen in the first round, 16th overall, by the Barrie Colts. After 32 games during his rookie season, however, he was on the road again, traded to the Niagara IceDogs. All told, he managed just 12 points as a rookie in 59 games.
“We knew he had game-breaking ability and was probably the best skater in the OHL draft,” said IceDogs coach Marty Williamson. “He is seeing difficult line match-ups now and everyone is putting their top defensemen on him.
“For him to still persevere, I think we’re seeing growth in Brendan. I think he is going to be close to a top-10 first round pick.”
During the current OHL campaign, the 17-year-old Perlini has scored 28 times and added 32 assists in 42 games, leading the team in scoring. A consistent offensive threat, he has 19 multi-point games. For now, he is second in power-play goals with 13 and sits eighth overall in league scoring.
The NHL Central Scouting midterm ranking has Perlini eighth among North American skaters. The agency sees the 6’2”, 205-pound Perlini as a “strong skater with excellent acceleration, speed, quickness and very high-end puck skills.”
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