Draft year is often the time we see junior-aged players take a jump and really start to contribute to their teams. The 2020 draft year is no exception with players like Jack Quinn taking a huge step in the production and Jake Sanderson going from second-round prospect to challenging Jamie Drysdale for the top defender in this class. The player that doesn’t seem to get the same kind of love for the improvements that he has made is Jacob Perreault of the Sarnia Sting. Going from a single tool offensive player who had some mobility issues to a well rounded offensive play driver who may have seen the biggest improvement of his raw tools of anyone in the class.
Possessing one of the best shots in the draft and improving leaps and bounds as a playmaker this year, Perreault has a real shot at becoming one of the premier dual-threat attackers coming out of this draft. Perreault was often the best player on the Sting at driving play and creating offense. He finished second on the team in scoring with 70 points in 57 games and found the back of the net 39 times, good for best on the squad. With Jamieson Rees only getting into 39 games due to injury and suspensions, Perreault was able to shoulder some of the load while growing as a player.
Jacob Perreault bio information courtesy of Elite Prospects.
There are certainly questions when it comes to where Perreault projects but if you examine his game and watch him at his best, you know that there is a chance that he could wind up being one of the top-10 players in the 2020 NHL Draft. The ceiling could be sky-high for an offensive player that continues to grow and mature as a player, seemingly improving on a week-by-week basis.
Growth and Mobility
The growth of Perreault’s game has been the driving force to his rise on some draft boards and the reason that some, in both NHL circles and the media, have argued that he has the raw talent to be a top-ten player in this years draft class, despite the loaded top-end of the 2020 class. While there is still a boatload of development for that statement to be true, the growth that the Sting forward showed this season over last was very impressive. Skating is often referred to as the base of the modern NHL. Skating is where Perreault took the biggest step.
In the following video from last season, Perreault pressures the Flint defenders and strips the puck from them, and makes his way up the ice on a breakaway. This gives us an excellent view of his skating mechanics and where he lacked as a skater. His stride is short and very light. While he does gather speed fairly quickly, it is very inefficient as he doesn’t have much power in his stride as he places each foot in a forward sliding placement in a pseudo-glide. While he does pull away, that has more to do with his quick feet than it does his skating mechanics. The ankle and knee flexion (bend) are okay but again, the lack of strength and power forces him to resort to a more gliding stride.