The Arizona Coyotes were lucky to have a prospect leading their team in the Ontario Hockey League Finals. They were even luckier to have a prospect on both teams.
Brendan Perlini and Christian Dvorak met in the OHL Finals in what will likely be the final season for both in major-junior hockey. London took the series in four games, but that doesn't mean Perlini doesn't appreciate the speed and skill of his fellow Coyotes' prospect.
"Dvo is somebody I've known a lot longer and played against from from 13 onwards. I've always known of him and he's been my main partner at camp. He plays the game great, and moves the puck really well." Perlini said when asked about his future teammate.
The sweep capped off what has been a trying year for Perlini. After an early training camp exit in September, Perlini struggled to re-find his game until the OHL playoffs, where he put together an excellent six goals and three assists in thirteen playoff games. He was then sidelined for three more games due to a dangerous hit in the OHL Eastern Conference Finals that earned him a suspension.
Still, Perlini is working closely with the Coyotes to get better and get ready to turn professional full-time, either with the Coyotes or in Tucson.
"[Coyotes Player Development Coach] Steve Sullivan comes to a lot of the games, and gives us phone calls. There's been lots of contact and they give us lots of feedback so we can change the little things," Perlini said.
"It's all playoffs right now, we're always trying to grow the game. Offense, defense, it's been a real learning season for me."
It's no secret that the Coyotes have a shortage of roster spots available for young players, and that guys like Dvorak and Perlini may have to battle for the same spots, especially if the Coyotes decide to start Dvorak or Strome on the wing to give them top-six minutes in the NHL.
But Dvorak and Perlini are trying their best to not let the competition affect them.
"We've been able to be pretty good friends, and at camps, so we're not really thinking about who's the best Coyotes guy, we're just focusing on the games each night and trying to win for our teams," Dvorak said.
The future is shining a bit brighter each year for the Coyotes, and with the guarantee to have at least one prospect win the J. Ross Robertson Cup as OHL Champion, training camp in the fall will be a little more exciting.