Photo: UMass forward Mike Pereira has been passed over in NHL Drafts, but seems to be getting some attention from NHL clubs despite going undrafted (courtesy of UMass Athletics)
Despite being included in the Central Scouting draft rankings multiple times and going undrafted, University of Massachusetts forward Mike Pereira has evolved into one of the strongest two-way players in Hockey East.
Photo: The towering Jamie Oleksiak is the top ranked collegiate player eligible for the 2011 NHL draft. (Photo courtesy of gonu.com)
This year’s top ten group of collegians eligible for the NHL Draft consists of six forwards and five defensemen (two players are tied for 10th), all of whom have just completed their freshman year. These players represent four of the five NCAA conferences. Five of this year’s top ten players are from Hockey East, while four are from the WCHA and the remaining two are from the CCHA and the ECAC. Also noted is each player’s ranking on Central Scouting’s final rankings.
1. Jamie Oleksiak, D
CS final ranking: 13th among North American skaters
High-energy agitator Joe Pereira scored a career-high 21 points last year in his junior season at Boston University. Already a national champion, he’s certainly a collegiate player worthy of envy.
Just not too much envy. At least, not from his kid brother.
"I wanted to start my own trail… and break out of my brother’s shell," said Mike Pereira, draft-eligible this year. He turned down BU to attend the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Fortunately for the nearly 6’0, 170-pounder, he has more than enough juice in his blades to set his own pace.
"Probably his greatest skill is his skating ability and the speed that he possesses,” said Avon Old Farms coach John Gardner, who guided the younger Pereira this season. “He’s able to turn it on and has that burst that you need to get by defensemen. He’s also pretty patient with the puck, and he has good vision. He really worked on making the people around him better this year."
The left wing out of West Haven, Conn. scored 28 goals and racked up 64 points for the New England Division I Prep champs, but the pop that drew the most notice from pro scouts wasn’t from his stick: it was in his skating ability.
"I liked to use him a lot on the man-down because he could put pressure on the puck," said Gardner. "He would be disruptive to the opposition’s power play… because of his quickness."