Weight: 180 pounds
Date of birth: January 1, 2002
Hometown: Whitby, Ontario
Position: Left Wing
OHL Draft: Round 1, 5th overall, 2018 Priority Selection
NHL Central Scouting Rankings
|A Prospect||A Prospect||4th North America||N/A|
Cole Perfetti played his Minor Midget AAA hockey with the Vaughan Kings during the 2017-2018 season where he played in 64 games accumulating 52 goals and 73 assists. He would add 5 goals and 5 assists in 7 OHL Cup games and named to the al-star team (3 goals and 5 assists in 5 games the previous year) and 4 goals and 2 helpers while representing Team Red at the OHL Gold Cup. Once his season was over, he would dress in 5 Ontario Junior Hockey League games with the Whitby Fury, scoring twice and adding 4 assists.
The potential in Perfetti was obvious and the Spirit selected him with the fifth overall pick at the 2018 Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection. This is what OHL Central Scouting had to say about him:
Cole is a gifted and offensively dangerous player that can take control of a game with a single shift. He has deceiving speed as he looks as if he is not moving and then next thing you know he has just walked around a defenceman. He is quick in and out of holes and is hard to stay with because he is so good on his edges. He is a pure playmaker and sees the ice better than some people do from the stands. Cole is creative and can make something out of nothing. He is always around the puck.
Only Quinton Byfield (Sudbury), Evan Vierling (Flint), Will Cuylle (Peterborough and now with Windsor), and Jamie Drysdale (Erie)were selected ahead of Perfetti. Byfield, Drysdale and Perfetti are ranked in the top 4 North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting on their mid-term release.
Perfetti took the OHL by storm a season ago leading all rookies in goals (37) and points (74) and being named to the OHL First All Rookie squad. He would continue that performance through 16 playoff games in which he scored 8 goals and 6 assists. He would also Represent Canada White at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17, leading the tournament in assists (7) and contributing two goals.
Coming into this season Perfetti would represent Canada once again at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and put up a spectacular performance with 8 goals and 12 points in 5 games, both tops in the tournament. But it wasn’t enough as Canada captured a silver medal.
As of today, Perfetti sits second in the OHL scoring race with 24 goals and 48 assists, second only to fellow draft eligible player from Ottawa, Marco Rossi.
There is so much to like about Perfetti’s game, one doesn’t know where to begin. At the top has to be his never-ending willingness to give it 100% each and every shift. He’s not one to give up on a play, and his relentless pursuit of the puck goes almost unmatched in the OHL. But there’s also a consistency factor with Perfetti, and maybe that is due to his work ethic.
Through 41 games this season, Perfetti has gone back-to-back games without registering a point just once, and that was way back on November 2 and 9. He has been kept off the score sheet on just 5 other occasions and has had multi-point games in 23 contests. That’s all fine from the blue line in. However, I think that consistency lacks in the defensive zone. He will come back hard on the backcheck but on rare occasions he lets his teammates “deal with it” instead of continuing to apply back pressure.
That said, Perfetti is an extremely intelligent player with maybe the highest hockey smarts in the draft class. He understands, reads and reacts to situations as quick as anyone in the game. His anticipation skills are off the charts. He needs to get stronger which will help him in different situations but it’s those hockey smarts that allow him to be a puck possession beast either by himself or using his teammates.
Perfetti’s goal production has taken a bit of a dip. And we’re not sure why, but he’s making the offense up by setting up teammates. He has an unbelievable shot with one of the best releases in the draft class. Yet, his shooting percentage has dropped from 22.4% a year ago to 14.5% this season. If that trend continues, he will be hard pressed to surpass the 37 goals from a year ago.
If there is one area that we would like to see Perfetti improve it is in his foot speed. He is a very good skater with excellent agility and edge work, but we would like to see him a little quicker in his first few steps and top end speed with a separation gear. I’m willing to bet he puts in the necessary work and will do so when he gains some lower body strength.