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Prospect Update: Jacob Perreault
By Thomas Harrington
Anaheim’s second first round pick from the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, forward Jacob Perreault, completed his third season of professional hockey this year.
After scoring almost 40 points with San Diego and making his NHL debut in the 2021-2022 season, big things were expected from Perreault. Unfortunately, he was one of several players who had a disappointing season in San Diego. He finished the year with eight goals and 19 points in 48 games, while primarily being used on the Gulls’ third line. The 11 assists were the lowest of his career, and the 19 points were only two better than his rookie season, but he only played in 27 games that year. Perreault finished eighth on San Diego in goals and ninth in points. He dealt with injuries in the second half of the year and was a healthy scratch several times as the season neared its end.
It should be pointed out that this past year was supposed to be Perreault’s rookie season in the AHL. However, because of the pandemic and the shut down of junior leagues, several players ended up in the AHL and if they played enough games, they were allowed to stay there. Perreault was one of those players. If he had put up these numbers in his first AHL season, then this year would not have been as much of a disappointment.
I had two expectations for Perreault last summer, but he missed on both of them. First, I wanted him to set career highs across the board in goals, assists, and points. Of those, the closest he came to was goals, but he still fell well short of the 14 he scored in the 2021-2022 season. Second, I wanted him to spend more time with the Ducks, but he was not called up at all last season.
This coming year, Perreault will be returning to the Gulls for his fourth professional season. After a down year for himself and San Diego, hopefully things will go better. I have two expectations for him. First, to have a bounce back year offensively. He doesn’t need to set a career high in every statistical category, but he needs to be one of San Diego’s more dangerous forwards. Second, for him to not be healthy scratched at all. If he misses time because of injury, that’s one thing, but he was a healthy scratch several times towards the end of last season, and that cannot happen this coming season. If both of these things happen, his career should be back on track, and last season will hopefully just be an aberration.
It’s hard to judge how far away Perreault is from the NHL right now. A couple of years ago, I thought he’d be knocking at Anaheim’s door by now, and if he has a truly spectacular training camp this fall, he still could. However, he really struggled last year, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he spends most of this year in the AHL before getting a real shot at the NHL in the 2024-20255 season.
Perreault’s entry level deal has two years left on it and he’ll be a restricted free agent when it’s over. Unlike most prospects, when his entry-level deal expires, Perreault will have five seasons of professional hockey under his belt. If he has two solid-to-good or even great seasons ahead of him, then he’ll be re-signed, possibly on a one-way deal. However, if the next two years go like this past one did, the Ducks could decide to not qualify Perreault and let him leave as a free agent.
The next prospect update will be on defenseman Tristan Luneau.
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September 16th, 2023