The 2023 NHL Entry Draft features a bevy of USNT prospects, including Gabe Perreault, who made headlines.
Perreault dominated this past season in the USNTDP. In 63 games, he scored 132 points (53G, 79A) with a +79 rating. With the USNTDP Juniors in the USHL, he played in 23 games, scoring 45 points (19G, 26A) with a +22 rating. Perreault shined at the U18 World Junior Championships, scoring 18 points (5G, 13A) in seven games with a +15 rating on the way to a gold medal.
He led all USNTDP skaters in points and shots on goal. Perreault set an all-time USNTDP season record in points last season. Overall, he ranks fourth all-time in scoring for the USNTDP.
Standing at 5’11” and weighing 165lbs, Perreault plays on the right wing with a left-handed shot. One of his main strengths is his passing ability. A playmaker with a pass-first mentality, Perreault can dictate upcoming plays to get his teammates in scoring positions.
A pass-first mentality doesn’t mean Perreault doesn’t shoot the puck. He sniped 53 goals last season, the most on the USNT. Offensively, his awareness and hockey IQ are brilliant. Instead of chasing the puck, Perreault knows where to receive it. Under pressure, he is calm and planning his game to be a step ahead of the competition.
Impressive stick handling and puck control complement Perreault. His playmaking abilities make him a threat on the powerplay, utilizing his vision. On a line with Will Smith and Ryan Leonard, Perreault thrived. Certainly, Perreault is no stranger to making the skaters around him better line mates.
One NHL skater Perreault shares similarities with is Jake Guentzel.
Despite his offensive skills, skating is a main weakness. Perreault is not explosive, affecting his speed. His edge work is shaky and he isn’t quite as agile in transition. To make an impact in the NHL, Perreault must enhance his skating.
Defensively, Perreault wasn’t the most aggressive forward in the USNTDP. He doesn’t battle in the dirty areas to fight for pucks, but has a decent stick that’ll break up plays while covering the point. On the backcheck, Perreault is one of the last players to enter the defensive zone. He needs to be aggressive on defense, working on a two-hundred-foot game. It’s a requirement with the Philadelphia Flyers, coached by John Tortorella.
Does he fit Philadelphia?
Perreault is one of the more interesting players in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. He has some of the best offensive skill in the entire draft class, but his skating and size could allow him to slip down the board in the first round.
He will be on the board when the Flyers make their selection. He would help improve the depth along the wing, bringing playmaking abilities that is lacking. At seventh overall, Perreault could be considered a reach, but he has the potential to make a future impact.
Daniel Briere would make a big swing at the plate if he decides to draft Perreault.
(Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)