The Arizona Coyotes have a knack for drafting hockey bloodlines. Whether it was Brett Hextall in 2008, Henrik Samuelsson in 2012 or Max Domi and Brendan Burke in 2013, the Coyotes love to draft the sons of ex-NHLers and 2014 would be no different.
Arizona held the 12th overall selection and drafted left wing Brendan Perlini from the Niagara IceDogs, the former team of fellow Coyotes prospect Mark Visentin.
The 18-year-old is speedy, skilled player who excels at possessing the puck and finding his way on the scoresheet. Perlini is a goal scorer, potting 34 goals and 71 points in his second OHL season. Although his numbers dipped in the second half of the season, culminating in a poor playoff performance for Niagara, Perlini's offensive ability is legitimate and those fatigue issues should wane with more experience. He finished second on the team in points and was named the most sportsmanlike IceDog for 2013-14 season.
At nearly 6' 3" and 205 pounds, Perlini is a left winger who will help shore up the Coyotes' lack of offensive depth while having enough size to translate to the NHL game. While he is unlikely to make an impact on the NHL roster before at least the 2016-17 season, fans should be excited about the possibility of finally having a home grown goal scorer in the system.
His two-way game needs some maturing, but Perlini seems eager to learn.
"He has a pro approach," IceDogs assistant coach David Bell said to Buzzing the Net. "He comes and asks about his improvements on the penalty kill and on his D zone. He knows he needs to work on his total package. A lot of guys, all they want to talk about is points. He's not yet once come and asked, ‘let me see the goal I just scored.' Rather, it's ‘where should I have been on that goal against?' or ‘where should I have been on that penalty kill?' That's what pros do."
Brendan is the son of Fred Perlini, whose British Hockey League numbers are bonkers. Fred even played a few games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, which is enough to keep the sons-of-ex-NHLers tradition alive.
Perlini was ranked eighth on NHL Central Scouting's final prospect rankings, with the following note from Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr: "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."
The British-born Canadian cites Evgeni Malkin and James Neal as players who he likes to watch and emulate. Perlini's brother, Brett, was drafted in the 7th round in 2010 by the Anaheim Ducks and currently plays in the ECHL.
The young forward will have to change the number he wears in tribute to his father when he makes it to the show, as his current No. 11 is worn by alternate captain and possible future linemate Martin Hanzal.
After years of building up defensive depth, the Coyotes have selected back-to-back-to-back forwards in the first round of the last three drafts.