Today, the Blues began phase three of the NHL’s Return to Play plan. Training camp is here.
If that wasn’t enough to smile about today, the Blues announced that their 2018 second round draft pick, Scott Perunovich, to a two year entry level contract. He will be eligible to make his debut with the Blues in the 2020-2021 season, whenever the start date for that might be.
As a whole, Perunovich has still had a great two years with Minnesota. He describes himself as a, “pass first offensive defenseman who likes to make plays.” Watching him play, he certainly fulfills this description. He’s shown a dangerous amount of skill as a playmaker ever since his high school days. His ability to find open passes in all three zones is phenomenal. It’s almost a sixth sense of sorts, with Perunovich boasting a great hockey IQ.
After hearing how great of a playmaker Perunovich is, it’s an easy next step to wonder if he’s as equally prolific on the power play. The short answer is yes. Perunovich, who mentions that the power play is one of his favorite aspects of the game, is an elite quarterback of Minnesota’s man-advantage. He’s led his team in points on the power play in both seasons so far. In total, 28 of his 65 collegiate points have come on the PP. Of those 28, only five have been goals, further bolstering his track record as a playmaker. He also mentioned he enjoys 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 play, likely where he gets to truly show off his above average speed and skill.
Perunovich’s offensive prowess is so great that the team even tried his hand on forward. When multiple injuries limited their roster, Minnesota bumped Perunovich up to left wing alongside Kobe Roth and Billy Exell. This isn’t unnatural for Perunovich, who, like many, started his hockey career at forward. He moved back to defense for his high school career and stayed there for all but a few games during his sole year in the USHL. On moving back to the front-end this past season, Perunovich said, “I thought it was very fun but don’t see myself ever jumping to forward at a full time position.”
The young defenseman capped off an excellent, if short, season this year by being awarded the Hobey Baker Award. If retaining Alex Pietrangelo isn’t in the future for the Blues, at least the team has something to look forward to with which to ease any potential pain.