On Monday morning, the Winnipeg Jets announced the signing of Cole Perfetti – the team’s first round selection (10th 0verall) in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The deal is a standard NHL entry-level contract, carrying an annual average value of $1.66 million, and a cap hit of $925K.
The three-year contract is broken down as $833K as a base salary, with an additional $500K as performance bonuses, while $93K has been given as a signing bonus. Should Perfetti spend time with the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League, his annual salary would be $80K.
A 5-foot-11, 180-pound, Whitby, Ontario product, Perfetti is the centreman that the Jets have long needed to fulfill that second-line role. Ridiculously talented, the 18-year-old has incredible hands and finish. Perfetti creates elite chances and is magnificent in and around the net. His patience with the puck and ability to wait for lanes to open up of note, as are his goal scoring abilities.
“It’s awesome, it’s a great feeling,” Perfetti said immediately after his selection. “I’ve worked my entire life to get to this point and to be drafted by such a great organization like the Winnipeg Jets, it’s pretty surreal and I can’t wait to get things going. It’s going to be awesome, growing up dreaming of being as good as (John Tavares) and now getting to have the chance to play against him, it definitely is a dream come true, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Although slightly undersized, Perfetti is very good at making opponents think he is shooting before providing unexpected cross-ice passes. He holds an elite offensive talent and very well could fill in as a winger if need be as. And clearly, the Jets’ 10th overall selection has a chip on his shoulder.
“Obviously I’m ecstatic to be a Winnipeg Jet, but there were nine other teams that passed on me,” he said draft day. “I’m going to come in trying to prove myself. At the end of the day I want to be the best player this draft and leave a legacy. I think it’s going to be by coming in with a chip on my shoulder, playing hungry and hard and establishing that I can make an impact at the next level. It’s going to be important for me to do that right away. I definitely want to prove everyone wrong that passed on me. I’m excited to be a Jet and I think I’m going to have a great career there. I’m really looking forward to it.”
In 140 total games with the Ontario Hockey League’s Saginaw Spirit, Perfetti has 82 goals, 199 points and 30 penalty minutes through regular and postseason action. In 2019-20 alone, the former OJHL Whitby Fury had 37 goals and 74 assists for 111 points in just 61 games played, prior to the COVID-19 league shutdown. Perfetti plans to make an instant impact with the Jets, with his sights set on the NHL as early as the 2020-21 season.
“I think every kid’s dream and every player’s goal is to make the NHL as fast as possible, and that’s obviously my goal, is to make it this year,” he told reporters Monday. “It’s definitely a far achievement, and it’s going to be very hard to do, but I think it’s possible. There’s so many great players within the Jets lineup, but there’s also places where I might be able to slot in. Obviously, the Jets are going to have a plan for me in what they want and a goal for me. Hopefully, I earn a spot and play very good at camp that they are forced to keep me there. But I’ll be happy with whatever the plan is. My goal will always be making the NHL as fast as possible. And I’m going to do whatever it takes to step into the league right away.”