Prospects News & Rumors: Perfetti, Addison & Caufield

Winnipeg Jets prospect Cole Perfetti grabbed his first professional goal in his American Hockey League debut. Minnesota Wild prospect Calen Addison is set to make his NHL debut on Tuesday night and Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin expects Cole Caufield to turn pro at the end of this season.

Perfetti Scores First AHL Goal

Perfetti scored his first professional goal for the Manitoba Moose in a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Marlies on Monday night. It’s an impressive debut for the Jets’ top prospect and they can take their time with him thanks to hot starts from Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor, along with the acquisition of Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Drafted 10th overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Perfetti spent the 2019-20 season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Saginaw Spirit amassing 37 goals and 74 assists in 61 games played. He finished second in league scoring, trailing only Wild prospect Marco Rossi, and represented Canada at the 2021 World Junior Championship, winning a silver medal and recording two goals and four assists in seven games played.

THW’s Josh Kim had this to say about Perfetti’s skill set after he was drafted by the Jets in October:

What makes Perfetti so dangerous is his lethal shot and offensive ability. A pure goalscorer, the Whitby-native showed consistent signs of brilliance all throughout his two seasons with the Spirit, and he’s been on the uptick ever since. Nearly doubling his assist totals from the previous season, Perfetti has proven that he can distribute and make plays just as much as he can fill the net.

It’s a great start to his professional career, but the OHL is aiming to return to play in early April, so it’s unlikely that Perfetti will be with the Moose for much longer. Due to the NHL-CHL agreement, he won’t be allowed to remain in the AHL along with other CHL stars like Jamie Drysdale, Seth Jarvis and Philip Tomasino. The Jets might feel inclined to hand him an NHL debut before he rejoins the OHL, and Perfetti has the skills to take advantage of the opportunity.

Addison Set For NHL Debut

Defenseman Calen Addison is set to make his NHL debut when Minnesota takes on the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night. The Wild missed six games due to COVID-19 protocols, so they will be looking for a fresh start. Addison spent the beginning of the 2020-21 season with the Iowa Wild, amassing three assists in three games played.

Drafted 53rd overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, he was acquired by the Wild in the trade that sent Jason Zucker to the Penguins. During the 2019-20 season, Addison played in the Western Hockey League with the Lethbridge Hurricanes recording 10 goals and 52 points in 50 games played. He also represented Canada at the 2020 World Junior Championship, winning a gold medal and posting one goal and eight assists in seven games played.

Addison and head coach Dean Evason had this to say about Addison’s NHL debut.

This is really a lifelong dream come true. I’ve waited almost 21 years for this. For it to come true and for that to be happening tomorrow is something special. I’m thankful they believe in me enough to put me in and give me that chance. – Calen Addison

We expect him to do what he does. Talked to him today about just simplifying his game. Doesn’t have to do too much. Doesn’t have to be Jared Spurgeon out there. He has to be Calen Addison. – Dean Evason

Calen Addison
Calen Addison (courtesy Lethbridge Hurricanes)

With Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, and Carson Soucy out with injury, Addison immediately jumps up onto the top pairing with Ryan Suter and likely onto one of the Wild’s power-play units. It’s a great opportunity for the 20-year-old prospect to earn a permanent roster spot on the team, and he could seamlessly slot in on the right side with Matthew Dumba and Spurgeon.

Bergevin Expects Caufield to Turn Pro Next Season

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin expects Cole Caufield to turn pro and join the NHL club once his sophomore season with Wisconsin comes to an end. Bergevin had this to say to reporters on Monday:

He has progressed a lot in the last year, but again it’s too early to tell you exactly what the plans are but expect him to turn pro after this year. Now where can he play once his season is over? That remains to be seen.

Montreal Canadians Cole Caufield NHL draft
Montreal Canadians select Cole Caufield during the first round NHL draft at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Friday, June, 21, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

Caufield seemingly doesn’t have anything left to prove in the NCAA. Through 22 games, he leads all players in scoring with 17 goals and 16 assists.  He’s rapidly nearing his point totals from last season when he recorded 19 goals and 17 assists in 36 games played. Caufield also won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2021 World Junior Championship when he recorded two goals and three assists in seven games played. He was Big Ten Rookie of the Year and Scoring Champion during the 2019-20 season, so it’s no a surprise he will be challenging for the NCAA scoring title this season.

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