(Photo Source: AZ Sports, via Twitter)
Back in 2014, the Arizona Coyotes used their first round pick to take Brendan Perlini at 12th overall. Following some ups and downs in the juniors, he finally had his breakthrough season in 2016/17.
Now, with a new head coach and a team stacked with young talents, Brendan Perlini looks to become a major part of the Coyotes as they claw back their fans and rise up the standings.
Perlini breaks onto the NHL scene
After the 2016 training camp, the Coyotes decided to try Brendan Perlini out in the minors, with their AHL affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners. The Guildford-born winger proved his incredible hockey sense and his great eye for goal by scoring 14 goals and five assists in just 17 games.
Promoted to the NHL, Perlini made his debut on December 5th against the Columbus Blue Jackets, which made Guildford sporting history. At just 20-years-old, he was the first player to have come from the Guildford Flames’ junior programme to reach the heights of the NHL.
But it wasn’t until his fourth game, five days after his debut, that he started to make a name for himself in the big league. Against the Nashville Predators, in the middle of the second period, Perlini forged some space in the slot – against the best defensive unit in the league – received the pass and flung the puck into the top corner, leaving the goaltender stunned.
Perlini finished the season having played 57 games for the Coyotes, scoring 14 goals and 21 points, with a near-remarkable, considering that Arizona were shipping goals for a pastime throughout the campaign, -4 rating.
Time to become the star man
Source: Five for Howling, via Twitter
Last season, the Arizona Coyotes missed the playoffs for the fifth straight year and only averaged 13,094 fans in the Gila River Arena, which can hold 18,300 per home game. However, with Rick Tocchet now taking the reins and the fact that they’ve done well to add experience to the team in the offseason, the Coyotes look to improve next season.
Arizona certainly won’t be favoured by bookies like this to win the Stanley Cup, standing as 200/1 outsiders, but they may have a shot, and good odds, to escape the Pacific Division and get to the playoffs. If the young stars like Brendan Perlini, Dylan Strome, Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Jakob Chychrun, and Clayton Keller can improve at the rate expected of players possessing their respective potentials, then the Yotes may just surprise the NHL next season.
A lot will hinge on Brendan Perlini making the most of his very high hockey IQ, blistering speed, and natural scoring ability. Despite playing 25 short of a season’s worth of games, Perlini still finished as the Coyotes’ fifth-highest goal scorer, and now two of the four who placed above him have moved on to other teams.
The English-Canadian winger has the ability to become a hero in Arizona, and fans will wait in anticipation of Perlini getting the puck on his stick in the offensive zone. The team will need a small miracle to jump into a playoff spot, but a 20-plus goal season from Brendan Perlini – which is entirely possible from the very talented 21-year-old – could see them climb the standings.