The Rangers have chosen RW Gabriel Perreault 23rd overall in the Draft.
He is the son of former NHLer Yanic Perreault. He played under new Rangers assistant coach Dan Muse at the US Program.
Muse told The Athletic that Perreault’s hockey sense is “at a crazy-high level.”
From McKeen’s Hockey, which ranked him 21st overall: “Auston Matthews, Jack Hughes, Clayton Keller, Matthew Tkachuk, Jack Eichel. Just a few of the names that Perreault passed this year as he broke the single season point record as part of the U.S. NTDP U18 team. Now the single season leader after a tremendous performance at the IIHF U18’s, Perreault finds himself moving up the draft boards of many NHL teams.”
Former Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher said on Sportsnet that it seemed like the Rangers were surprised he was there because they didn’t have a nameplate for him.
He is 5-11, 163 and had 36 goals and 64 assists in 55 games for the US Program last season. He’ll play at Boston College next season.
On Sportsnet, Sam Cosentino said “This guy is a playmaker extraordinaire. You can see by his frame that he needs to add some strength, which he has already done, he needs to add some size, he’s willing to put the work in. He’s so crafty and so chippy, he reminds me a little bit of Mitch Marner because you can’t sleep on him on the backcheck, he has a really good stick, but when he has the puck on the offensive side of it, you better be aware because he’ll find a seam or a way to get you the puck. I love his playmaking ability.”
Jason Bukala said on Sportsnet, “you can’t sleep on him ever, on the puck, off the puck. When he gets it, good things are happening in the offensive zone, you have to stick with him, man on man coverage in the defensive zone because when he gets it he’s creating offense, an elite stick.”
On ESPN, Meghan Chayka said he was comparable to Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel and “dynamic offense, dangerous in the offensive zone with both passing and shooting and he gets to the slot, too.”
Brian Boucher said on ESPN, “his skating is the issue, much like his dad Yanic Perreault, he slows the game down, but IQ is off the charts with this guy. He’s probably the smartest player in the draft and you think of NTDP single season point record, he shattered it by 15 points, who did he beat, Auston Matthews. He’s part of that dynamic line with Will Smith and Ryan Leonard. He makes guys miss, he creates by while not moving, it’s so interesting to watch….maybe the pace is an issue, but when you’re smart like that you find a way.”
Kevin Weekes said that Perreault is “almost a savant offensively on the ice and the ability to make plays all over the offensive zone, I think this is a steal for the Rangers, potentially, at this pick.”
- “Perreault has been great all year as part of that dynamic first line, consisting of him, Will Smith, and Ryan Leonard. However, subtle improvements in his game over the course of the year have helped to improve his projection and his performance at the U18’s was evidence of this.
- An average sized forward without elite physical tools; Perreault is not a dynamic skater. He moves well linearly and can build speed North/South. This allows him to be a factor when driving wide in transition along with his pace pushing linemates.
- However, a lack of high-end agility and edgework can limit his ability to evade pressure and work between the hash marks. Without question, his overall body of work as a skater will need to improve in order for him to be a top six winger at the NHL level.
- However, as the year progressed, Perreault underwent a transformation to become a significantly more assertive player and one who found ways to fight through contact to become less of a perimeter player.
- His confidence as a puck carrier and distributor improved as he showcased greater creativity and one on one skill that helped him to escape pressure in order to sustain possession or create scoring chances.
- This has helped many to believe, us included, that Perreault can ultimately be a strong complementary scoring line piece with the right physical development.
- As you might expect, as the son of former NHL’er Yanic Perreault, Gabe has high end awareness and vision. His IQ grade is among the highest of any player eligible this year.
- Yes, part of his success this year is owed to the tremendous chemistry between him and his linemates. However, part of the reason why that line was so successful and was able to build said chemistry was because Perreault is just so savvy with the puck. It’s rare to see him make a poor read or pass. His game is predicated on quick touches, and he often seems to have eyes in the back of his head.
- He thinks one step ahead of the competition and always seems to know where his teammates are…or where they are going to be. Is he immune to turnovers? No, he can be outmuscled off the puck and adding strength will be an area of focus. However, he is the kind of intelligent winger who makes those around him better players.”
The Hockey News ranked him 20th and a scout said “he’s one of the smartest, if not the smartest, guys in the draft. He doesn’t have the speed on his linemates, but he’s definitely got the hockey sense and can make plays. He’s got to work on his feet though.” Another scout said “he’s a high-level playmaker, he’s a great passer, and he can read the play before the puck gets to him.”
The Athletic had his consensus ranking of 10th across five different prospect lists.
He’ll be coached at BC by former Rangers assistant coach Greg Brown.
Adam Rotter: It sure seems like the Rangers got a bit of a steal and very good value at 23. There are plenty of players in the league who have high skill and/or high hockey IQ but fell because of skating or speed issues. Maybe Perreault will join that group of players and be a high-level offensive performer that can use his smarts to offset his skating or speed limitations. He’ll get to work on that for at least a year, maybe two at BC before turning pro. This seems like a high-upside pick for the Rangers and a nice addition to the organization.