Scoring has been at the forefront of the Anaheim Ducks woes over the past few seasons. Jacob Perreault, the 27th selection in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, will be looked at to change that for the organization in the near future.
Over the past three seasons, it has been painstakingly obvious that the Ducks have an issue in the scoring department. While the team generally has many issues, the offensive play remains one of the most frustrating. Currently, the only team worse than the Ducks 2.14 Goals For Per Game is the Buffalo Sabres, not far behind at 2.07.
The team is obviously missing Corey Perry contributing 25-35 goals in a season, Ryan Kesler contributing 20-25, and Rickard Rakell hasn’t been able to get back to 30 again. While Perry and Kesler declined from poor performance and health concerns, the hope was for Rakell and the new prospects to eventually take over and lead this team offensively. However, seeing as we are at this point, that has not been the case.
Last year the only two players to score more than 20 goals were Adam Henrique and Jakob Silfverberg. So far this season their leading scorer is a young gun who seems to be making good strides in Max Comtois. He is the only player to crack double digits in goals 35 games into the season. Moving forward I do believe scoring needs to be a priority for this team.
Anaheim Ducks find Goal Scoring through 2020 Draft
Part of the issue has been in drafting, as Bob Murray does seem to have his particular preferences when it comes to picking forwards. In his tenure, we have seen very similar picks when it comes to the first round selections: big-bodied players who can drive to the net and play physical (Nick Ritchie, Max Jones), steady two-way forwards with unknown offensive potential (Isac Lundestrom, Sam Steel), and creative playmakers who use nice stick work to their advantage (Trevor Zegras, Rickard Rakell). However, Murray has neglected to look at players who you could consider pure shooters with more work needed to their game. That was until the first round of the 2020 Draft.
When looking at potential picks for the 2020 Entry Draft much of the focus from the fans was the team’s lack of scoring ability. Sitting at the sixth pick, there was a good opportunity that forwards such as Marco Rossi, Cole Perfetti, and Alexander Holtz would be available to help the team’s needs from the offensive side. Nevertheless, Bob Murray decided to go to the blueline and select arguably the best player available at that point, Jamie Drysdale.
While a good offensive player in his own right, Drysdale was not going to be a guy that would directly impact the lackluster scoring output. However, once the draft reached the 27th overall pick Murray and co. decided to select one of the best shots and pure goal scorers in the draft, Jacob Perreault. While it was advantageous picking up a top defensive prospect, being able to get Perreault late in the first round definitely justifies the selection.
Rounding out the Rest of His Game
A lot of people were shocked that Perreault fell all the way to the Ducks at 27th overall. While he is a noted goal scorer, he will have to continue his development in other areas of the game. Leading up to the draft Perreault had two very successful seasons with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL as a scoring forward.
In his rookie season back in 2018-19 the Montreal-born forward netted 30 goals in 63 games. He then followed up with 39 tucks in a shortened 57 games before the season stoppage. While the scoring stood out so did an awful -34 rating on the season, proving there are still defensive deficiencies in his game.
Many say that +/- is far from a viable stat to judge a player and the Sting dealt with their share of injuries last year, but it is clear that the young forward will need to continue his development in other aspects of the game.
Perreault became known for his strong shot over his career in the OHL and while this is a major need for the Ducks currently, as mentioned before this is much different than a usual Bob Murray pick. When looking at areas of improvement the focus remains on his defensive play along with becoming more of a consistent player all around. The consistency was seen as a detriment to a potential higher draft position.
"“TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie had Perreault at No. 21 in his final list of all draft prospects describing the 18-year-old as a “fascinating wild card” who could go higher based on pure skill, but could also slide lower due to concerns about his inconsistent effort level.” –Mark Masters, TSN"
While these are typically traits that would cause Murray to turn a blind eye to the talent level, seeing how poorly the team has been offensively acquiring direct help to the problem is a small step to the solution. The Anaheim Ducks knew what they were getting upfront with one of the best shots in the draft, now they will have to be patient with him and make sure the focus remains rounding out the rest of his game.
Perreault Could be a Franchise Goal Scorer With Proper Development
With the delay of the OHL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Perreault got the opportunity to participate in a full training camp with the Anaheim Ducks this year followed up by starting the season with the Gulls. In 11 games he put up a 1-3-4 stat line along with a -7 as primarily a depth forward until recently he has not been in the lineup. When the shortened OHL season does begin, Perreault should be able to take much of the experiences and lessons he’s gained the past three months to benefit his game.
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As a player, he reminds me a lot of Kings prospect Arthur Kaliyev, a player that can put the puck on the net with a purpose, along with needing development on the two-way game. While Murray passed on the young Kings forward back at the 2019 Draft, Kaliyev has continued to show improvement on his complete game and even debuted and scored his first NHL goal against the Ducks earlier this year.
If the Anaheim Ducks have specific expectations for Perreault this is a blueprint that the young forward could definitely follow. Heading into next year Perreault should (hopefully) get a full season with Sarnia and also push for a spot on the Canadian World Junior team to help continue his development.
Jacob Perreault is an intriguing prospect as he will eventually help the Ducks in a spot that they need badly right now. Similar to what we said about Jamie Drysdale, the team should not rush him into the lineup as he will need to continue developing into a better all-around player. If the team plays its cards right they may have their franchise goal scorer for the next decade.
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