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2019 Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25: Brendan Perlini at No. 8

The winger was underwhelming until March, when he scored nine goals and 11 points.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Second City Hockey’s 2019-20 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2019. The rankings are determined by a composite score from six SCH writers and more than 70 readers. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. The six SCH writers will make their ballots public after the series is completed.

Brendan Perlini’s 2018-19 season was a roller-coaster ride.

During a brutal November slide by the Blackhawks that saw head coach Joel Quenneville canned and an eighth-game losing streak, Nick Schmaltz was dealt to the Coyotes for two underachieving former first rounders in Dylan Strome (No. 3 in 2015) and Perlini (No. 12 in 2014).

Strome slid into the top-nine and had immediate chemistry with his best friend and former Erie Otters linemate, Alex DeBrincat. Perlini, however, struggled to stay in the lineup, earn coach Jeremy Colliton’s trust and was often a defensive liability. In Perlini’s first 29 games with Chicago, he had four points (three goals, one assist), averaged 9:45 minutes of ice time and compiled a minus-17 rating.

Although he was struggling, there were glimpses of a dangerous offensive skillset. He occasionally showcased a burst of speed that only a few players could match and a cannon of a shot that just missed picking corners. However, too often that glimpse of top-six potential faded away after a couple shifts or even weeks at a time.

In early March, Perlini exploded for 10 points (eight goals, two assists) in a seven-game stretch. The run was highlighted by his first career hat trick against his former team.

It all started with a two-goal outburst against Los Angeles, which eventually turned into a chance to play with DeBrincat and Strome:

The scoring frenzy ended with a beautiful passing play by that line that Perlini converted against the Canadiens:

Perlini quieted down as the season came to an end with only one goal in 10 games, but during that aforementioned seven-game stretch there were a handful of times where his play was outstanding. He had game-changing speed, he snuck into open spots in the slot looking for a quick one-timer opportunity and wasn’t afraid to go to the high-danger areas in the offensive zone. In those seven games, he generated 25 individual scoring chances (iSCF), 32-percent of the the total iSCF he had all season.

When Perlini struggled, Colliton often spoke of the winger’s disinterest in positioning and work ethic when he didn’t have the puck. If Perlini can find his game like in March when he was hustling away from the puck, locating open space in the slot, demanding the puck on his stick, exuding confidence and extend it across a full season, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him hit the 20-goal mark.

What’s next?

Perlini, who is currently a restricted free agent, is still in contract negotiations with the Blackhawks. Both sides are hopeful to get a deal done “over the next week or so,” a source told Scott Powers of The Athletic on Aug. 19. Perlini’s camp is reportedly seeking $1.5 million, while Chicago wants to pay $1 million. Evolving-Hockey projects his next contract to be a two-year deal with a $2,056,017 cap hit.

If Perlini does get re-signed, he’ll have tough competition ahead of him at training camp for a NHL roster spot. His ‘A’ game would be valuable to have on the wing and the second power-play unit. Yet, the question remains: Can he extend that effort level in March across a full NHL season?


Is Brendan Perlini ranked too low, just right or too high?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    (32 votes)
  • 36%
    Just right
    (155 votes)
  • 56%
    (242 votes)
429 votes total Vote Now

*Advanced stats glossary - All advanced stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, Hockey-Reference, Evolving Hockey and Corsica-Hockey

CF% - The percentage of Corsi, which is the number of shots attempts (goals, shots on net, misses or blocks), that are in Chicago’s favor when Player X or Line X is on the ice. Above 50% suggests Player X or Line X spend the majority of their time on the ice possessing the puck and generating shots and scoring chances.

HDCF% - Percentage of total high danger scoring chances, while Player X is on the ice, that are for that player’s team.

dZS% - The frequency of Player X starting their shift in the defensive zone.

TOI%_QoC - The weighted average TOI% of opponents that Player X has to defend at even strength. If Player X is frequently defending against the top 6 forward group of the opposing team, their TOI%_QoC is right around or above 29.0-percent. If Player X is consistently defending bottom 6 forwards from the opponent, their TOI%_QoC is closer to 28.0 and below.

iSCF - Individual scoring chances generated by Player X.