We are about five weeks away from the 2023 NHL Draft. With trades usually happening closer to draft day than before it, the Flames currently hold the 16th overall pick. The first round of the 2023 NHL Draft will take place on June 28, while the following rounds will occur on June 29.
One of the players that has entered the conversation around the mid-range of the first round is Gabe Perreault. Perreault is rising in draft rankings due to his superb 2022–23 season. The nifty scoring winger put up a whopping 132 points in 63 games in the NTDP this year.
2023 NHL Draft Update: Gabe Perrault was selected 23rd overall by the New York Rangers.
Who is Gabe Perreault?
|Gabe Perreault||RW/LW||Left||5’11”||165 lbs|
Perreault’s on-ice production
|NTDP||U.S. National U17 Team||51||18||32||50|
|NTDP||U.S. National U18 Team||7||0||3||3|
|NTDP||U.S. National U18 Team||63||53||79||132|
Perreault had a solid D-1 season, notching 50 points in 51 games with the U.S. National U17 Team. He also got introduced to the U18 Team, where he had three assists in seven games. But what has scouts talking is his play this past year. In his D-1 year, Perreault had 27 points with the USNTDP Junior squad. Last year, his D+0 season, Perreault shot up to 19 goals and 45 points in 23 games.
Perreault was a member of the dominant line on the U.S. National U18 Team, which also featured Will Smith and Ryan Leonard. Smith is projected to go as high as the top five, while Leonard finds himself projected to go somewhere in the top ten. This year, Perreault had 53 goals and 132 points with the U18 Team, which is a individual player high for the program! The previous high was Auston Matthews’ 117 points. Will Smith also broke Matthews’ record, with 127 points in 60 games. What a dominant line.
This line stayed together for the World Juniors, and continued their strong success under the spotlight. Perreault had five goals and 18 points in seven games, good for second in the tournament behind linemate Smith. Perreault’s showing of 18 points is the seventh highest point total in the tournament’s history.
Note: The line of Perreault – Smith – Leonard has all committed to Boston College next season, so they will likely continue playing as a line in the NCAA.
Overall offensive game
Gabe Perreault is able to see the offensive zone very successfully. He has incredible vision, and keen playmaking ability to go along with it. He can also find himself key areas of the ice to score from and make himself available for teammates. He seems to always be at the right place on the ice. He worked so well with linemates Will Smith and Ryan Leonard because the three of them were able to read the ice so effectively together.
With that playmaking ability and great vision, Perreault is someone who is super effective on the power play. Ten of Perreault’s 53 goals last season with the U18 Team came on the power play.
Perrault’s areas of improvement
Skating isn’t a definitive knock on Perrault’s game, but it will definitely need to be improved before he makes the jump to the NHL. It’s not uncommon for skating to be underdeveloped for a high-octane offensive player, and it’s a teachable skill that would only elevate his play.
Being all offence all of the time means the defensive side of the ice isn’t much of a worry. Perreault was often the last man back to help defend his zone. It’s not something that will ever be a standout part of Perreault’s game, so the drafting team should know they are drafting Perreault for the offensive side.
Another area for Perreault to work on would be his size and using it effectively. He is a little undersized, which might affect his draft ranking. Perreault has tons of time to add strength and learn how to use it effectively.
Perreault has drawn comparisons to Jake Guentzel, with his effective offensive game and keen finishing ability. I also think Jiri Hudler would be a decent comparable.
Fit with the Flames
As we saw this past season, the Flames lacked offence, whether that be personnel or playstyle. Adding a guy like Perreault comes with some risk, but if he hits, he can be a very good contributor to a teams top-six wing. I don’t know if Perreault will be a top line guy at the NHL, but I think he will be a first unit power play guy. Calgary could certainly use some help with their power play, and Perreault’s acumen could certainly help energize and make the unit more effective.
Perreault has burst onto the draft scene this year with his remarkable play with the U.S. National U18 Team and at the U18 World Juniors. Is he a product of his linemates Will Smith and Ryan Leonard? We can’t be sure, as the three have spent almost all of their playing time in tournaments and with the U18 Team together. Perreault is all offence, with the ability to read the ice and make key passes to teammates. Gabe Perreault seems to always be in the correct place on the ice, which allows for successful finishing and play creation. Perreault is still a few years away, and will have to work on things like skating and contributing to the defensive side of the ice in college.
Projection: Top-six scoring winger who plays first unit power play
All TWC 2023 NHL Draft Profiles
Check out more of our individual player profiles of selected 2023 NHL Draft prospects:
Connor Bedard | Matvei Michkov | Adam Fantilli | Leo Carlsson | Zach Benson | Andrew Cristall | Oliver Moore | Will Smith | Ryan Leonard | Eduard Sale | Colby Barlow | Axel Sandin Pellikka | Dalibor Dvorsky | Brayden Yager | David Reinbacher | Nate Danielson | Riley Heidt | Matthew Wood | Quentin Musty | Mikhail Gulyayev | Calum Ritchie | Gabe Perrault | Jayden Perron | Ethan Gauthier | Dmitri Simashev | Samuel Honzek | Lukas Dragicevic | William Whitelaw | Otto Stenberg | Gavin Brindley | Daniil But