While it may be difficult to believe, it’s already been a full month since the 2020 NHL Entry Draft concluded, which saw the Winnipeg Jets selecting four different skaters who’ve been added to their deep group of talented young prospects.
Wasting almost no time locking up their first-round pick, and who could blame them, the Jets have announced a new three-year, entry-level contract with forward Cole Perfetti that’ll pay him just over $1.6 million per season.
#NHLJets have agreed to terms with 2020 first round pick (10th overall) Cole Perfetti on a three-year, entry-level contract with an average annual value of $1,658,333!
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) November 9, 2020
Though things haven’t always come easy for Perfetti, the 18-year old did enjoy plenty of success throughout his early playing days and was never forced to experience what it’s like being cut from a team. That being said, the youngster gained his first taste of how that feels after failing to make Canada’s World Juniors team last season and admitted he’s been using that situation as motivation ever since.
“I think there’s so many lessons you can learn in being cut from a team and that being my first time ever being cut it was definitely a wake-up call, but the big lesson for me was how to bounce back from adversity,” Perfetti discussed. “Being cut, it’s tough and especially from a team like that and that level of hockey, it’s definitely disappointing. But, I learned a lot and how to use that as motivation and fuel me for the rest of the season.
Up to this point, I’m still using that motivation from being cut last year and taking that into camp this year, hopefully I make the team this time around.”
With the OHL’s 2020-21 campaign delayed until February, Perfetti hasn’t been able to play in a single game since last March, which is certainly less than ideal. Despite this extended time off, the 5-foot-10 forward is hoping to participate in the World Juniors tournament this time around and is confident it’ll help him prepare for the Jets’ training camp that’s expected to open this winter.
“I think this is the closest hockey you can get to the next level, to the NHL, and the mixture of pace, the skill, and the quality of play out there,” Perfetti explained. “It’s definitely going to prepare me if I can make that team to go into Jets’ camp and feel really prepared, and be playing the top level of hockey going into the next level. So I’m really excited for that and I think that would be a great tune-up for Jets’ camp.”
Over his 61 games with the Saginaw Spirit in 2019-20, Perfetti produced 37 goals (ninth-most among all forwards in the OHL), 111 points (second-most), 0.61 goals per game, 1.82 points per game, six power-play goals, two game-winning goals, along with 244 shots on net (seventh-most), according to OHL.com.
Looking ahead to next season, whenever it begins, the left-hander is extremely excited about Winnipeg’s future and is hopeful he’ll be able to skate alongside some of the team’s All-Star forwards very shortly. Though there’s no guarantee the Ontario native will open the 2020-21 campaign in the NHL, he’s ready to make a strong impression and compete for a spot during his first NHL camp.
“I was definitely very happy with going to the Jets and the way their future is going and the way they’re trending,” Perfetti detailed. “The players they have – being able to play with world-class players like Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, and the list goes on and on, there’s so many great players – to be able to just think about getting a chance to play with those guys, it’s pretty unbelievable and they’re world-class players. To think that you might be taking passes or giving passes from them in a year’s time it’s hard to believe. But as a player, you get really excited looking at that lineup and thinking you might be able to play with those guys.”