After being selected tenth overall by the Winnipeg Jets last year, Cole Perfetti has unexpectedly spent the entire season with the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose.
Perfetti was gearing up for a third season with the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League, but with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting junior hockey across the country, he’s enjoying his first professional season earlier than expected.
“In the first couple weeks I was kind of uneasy not knowing where I’d be playing all year, not knowing my situation and what would be happening,” said Perfetti.
“As it went on, I started getting more comfortable with the guys and with being on my own, just really starting to embrace living here and playing for the Moose, those are my only thoughts now.”
With the OHL season now cancelled, the 19-year-old has already carved out an important role in Manitoba’s everyday line up.
“A lot of these guys are going to be at Jets’ camps in the future, so spending a year with them creating relationships, friends and bonds that you can only get when you’re a teammate I think is going to be very helpful at Jets’ camps in the future.”
According to his head coach, Perfetti has plenty of room for growth, but his potential has been on full display as one of the team’s top point-getters.
“Him getting stronger, faster, bigger and all those things that will happen in the summer. He’s been, I don’t want to say a surprise because he’s been good since day one,” said Pascal Vincent, the team’s bench boss.
And the young prospect agrees.
“Face-offs, puck battles, finding the open space in the o-zone and d-zone, defending better, how to get guys up against the wall to pin and have a better stick,” explained Perfetti.
“There’s just so much stuff, all the little details that make pro-hockey that next step and I’ve just been learning the last three-four months here.”
The centreman plans on carrying that experience into his second Winnipeg Jets training camp this fall.
“You want to always continue to move up and you want to play for the Jets, you want to play in the NHL, so that’s obviously my mindset. I want to play there,” he said.