Home sport The Canucks selected Matthew Perkins 119th overall in the 2023 NHL Draft

The Canucks selected Matthew Perkins 119th overall in the 2023 NHL Draft

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The Vancouver Canucks started with three fourth-round picks with senior receiver Ty Mueller, 20, drafting the 105th overall.

They finished their fourth round with another 119th-place finisher: 19-year-old Matthew Perkins.

Players who were drafted in their second or third year of eligibility usually come out years in which they give scouts a reason to overlook their age. This did not appear to be the case for Perkins, who was scoring fewer than a point per game in the USHL.

Perkins scored 15 goals and 44 points in 60 games with the Youngstown Phantoms, which ranked him 51st in the USHL in points. He followed that up with just 2 points in 9 playoff games. While points aren’t everything in a prospect’s evaluation, it is a troubling indicator for a forward who may not be expected to be of NHL caliber in the rest of the game.

As a result, Perkins was not ranked by any overall draft rankings, although NHL Central Scouting placed him 165th among North American skaters.

So what prompted the Canucks to draft Perkins in the fourth round? Most likely, it was his intelligence that compensated for many other shortcomings of his game.

“The skates and hands aren’t there, but he’s smart in the NHL,” elite prospects Mitchell Brown said in a scouting report, though he admitted he didn’t consider him an option in this draft. “He has the intelligence to be surprised if the Mechanics arrive.”

Perkins’ out-of-the-box game is outstanding, both offensively and defensively, with a good read of where he is on the ice in any given situation. This allows him to be a strong leader, operating on a back-and-forth system and finding the ice clear for himself and his teammates.

While in the central position, Perkins can also play on either wing and add shots on goal to his resume with the Phantoms, making him a complete and versatile player.

“The NHL team that gets Matt will have a very mobile player” said Phantom coach Andy Kontoa. “His colleagues love him, he is a great leader and has the potential to achieve a lot of success in the future.”

Elite Prospects gave Perkins an “F” in the draft guide but left room for optimism due to his intelligence.

“Awareness and intelligence drive the Perkins game,” the investigative report reads. “He opens up opportunities, glides in to create chances for teammates and picks off opponents. Instead of relying on crushing pressure, he uses precise pointers, well-timed punches and slashes to gain possession. From there, he looks down the hole for a pass, connecting both sides of his blade.” “. .

Perkins’ problem is that his skills don’t allow him to use his intelligence effectively.

Despite his high work rate, Perkins’ ski step is clearly a problem and makes everything else more difficult for him.

“He’s a very limited skater—wide stride, high hips, low chest, and limited strength in his recovery,” Brown said in a scouting report. “Passing receptions and manipulating the paddle is difficult for him because of the variable depth of skiing. He is constantly fighting the puck.”

So the Canucks’ bet is that this element of the Perkins game can be salvaged. If he can fix his skating mechanics, which is no small feat, his intelligence could make him a valuable two-way player in the NHL.

What makes things more difficult for Perkins is that he is not the greatest player. He’s listed at 5’11” and 156 lbs Phantoms, which makes it all the more important that he has the correct skating grades.

It’s a long shot and Perkins is clearly legit. It’s fair to wonder if the Canucks can make a stand with more height and higher elevation at this point in the fourth round, especially since no one in the public field seems to think Perkins deserves to be drafted.

Perkins is on his way to the University of Minnesota-Duluth, which gives him a long road to development, where he can stay in the NCAA for up to four years without losing his rights to the Canucks. This gives the Canucks some time to see if their bet on Perkins’ intelligence pays off.

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