‘He has eyes on the back of his head’: Cole Perfetti is thriving with the Winnipeg Jets

WINNIPEG, MB – If all went to plan, Cole Perfetti wouldn’t be in the Calder Trophy conversation right now.

And, frankly, he’s not going to win it this year anyways. That’s up to Matty Beniers and Logan Thompson to fight it out. But Perfetti’s development was abruptly halted after an upper-body injury took him out of the second half of 2021-22 – just weeks after becoming a full-time NHLer. Perfetti was limited to just 18 games in the NHL and 17 in the AHL in what was supposed to be his first proper season of pro hockey.

Missing half a season for any player is tough. And that’s amplified when you’re a young guy just looking to get your groove at 20 years old.

Cole Perfetti Scores First NHL Goal for Jets

WASHINGTON D.C. – Cole Perfetti wired home a terrific wrist shot past goaltender Vitek Vaneck for his first NHL goal against host Washington Capitals.

The big time goal put Perfetti’s Winnipeg Jets up 2-0 in the first period at Capital One Arena. The first round draft pick Perfetti showed off his dangerous release with that snipe.

Perfetti Brings Big-Time Experience to Canadian World Junior Return

WINNIPEG, MB – After spending the past two years playing pro hockey, Cole Perfetti is ready to lead Canada in his last hurrah in junior hockey. He hopes his time playing with Winnipeg and Manitoba will help him be a leader on the international stage.

Let’s just do a recap of the past 18 months for Cole Perfetti.

His OHL season was delayed, preventing him from playing his Draft+1 year. Then, he made Canada’s World Junior Selection Camp roster, and that too had a two-week delay due to positive COVID-19 cases within the team. He made the team, but Canada came up short, and Perfetti didn’t play a prominent offensive role.

Then, he got the unique experience of playing in the AHL for the rest of the season, something that typically isn’t allowed for U-20 North American prospects belonging to CHL teams. He then finished things off by playing as Canada’s 13th forward at the men’s World Championship, winning gold.

Now, he has two NHL games under his belt with Winnipeg and is a key offensive contributor for the Manitoba Moose, entering Canada’s camp after leading Manitoba with 15 points in 17 games. But right now, his focus is on helping Canada win gold at the World Junior Championship, something he came short of last year in Edmonton.

Clearly, a lot has happened since that point. And the goal-scoring winger hopes it translates into the more coveted piece of hardware around his neck when the tournament comes to a close.

This is actually Perfetti’s third camp appearance after failing to make the team in 2020. So, in a way, the 19-year-old is like a seasoned veteran. And the experience of playing against men over the past two years is something Perfetti finds valuable heading into his second tournament appearance.

“It’s been great for me,” Perfetti said about his experience in pro hockey. “It’s hard to explain just how the adjustment period works. It’s different for everyone, but I think the only way to get better is to experience the next level. Being thrown into the AHL last year was really good for me in the sense that I got used to playing against men. The speed, the size, the physicality, the skill. Everything is just at another level.

“Being adapted to the pro game and the pro style at a young age, it’s extremely helpful and beneficial.”

Perfetti was awarded that opportunity because the AHL allowed players that were still junior-eligible the chance to play in the league while the CHL sat out of commission during COVID-19. That’s usually not an option for players heading into this tournament, but 13 players – including undrafted goaltender Brett Brochu – have played at least one AHL game to date on Canada’s world junior team.

So Perfetti isn’t alone, but he’s definitely had the most success. Perfetti is the only forward with at least 15 games played in the AHL and is the only player to have double-digit points with 41 in 49 career games. There wasn’t much for Perfetti to accomplish in Saginaw, anyways: in his draft year, Perfetti had 111 points in 61 games. Had Perfetti been forced to remain in the OHL, they’d essentially be legalizing torture at the hands of Perfetti, who turns 20 just before the quarter-final kicks off.

“It’s a little more of a heavier game,” Perfetti said about the AHL compared to the OHL. “There’s certain things you can, at both levels, that might not work. The mindset should never change. My mindset is kind of the same, play the best hockey that I can and have fun and be the best player I can be.”

On top of having that pro experience, Perfetti also knows what it’s like to lose on the international stage. After rolling through the first six games with ease, Canada ultimately lost the gold to the United States in the championship game. Having later won gold at the men’s World Championship, Perfetti takes that losing experience in stride for his second go-around at the title in Alberta.

“It sucks to lose,” Perfetti said. “Getting the experience at the men’s worlds this year and winning, it’s having both ends of the spectrum. You want to be on that winning side, it’s something you’ll never forget. It’s a new year this year, it’s a fresh group, lot’s of new faces and I think everyone’s really hungry and looking forward to it.”

As for where Perfetti’s season takes him next, he said he hasn’t had talks with the Jets on whether or not he’ll head to the NHL after the tournament. Perfetti got two games of action early in the season but has since been Manitoba’s best player in the AHL. His play is worthy of a call-up, but it’s unclear whether the Jets believe it’s best for his development to bring him back up to the big club, especially as the team struggles to find its groove right now.

That’s for future Cole to worry about. Current Cole has a goal in mind: score many of them, and, hopefully, have a big reason to celebrate in front of a full Rogers Place on Jan. 5.



Cole Perfetti Named April CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month

WINNIPEG, MB – The American Hockey League announced today Moose forward Cole Perfetti has been named the CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month for April.

Perfetti, 19, tied for the lead among AHL rookies, and the Moose, in scoring in April. He recorded 13 points (4G, 9A) in just nine games. Perfetti’s 13 points also left him in a tie for seventh among the league’s top point-getters for the month. His plus-eight rating tied for the lead among rookies and was tied for ninth overall. The Whitby, Ont. product recorded eight of his nine helpers as the primary assist this month. Perfetti also tallied nine points (2G, 7A) at even strength in April. The Winnipeg Jets’ 10th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft saved his best for when the game was on the line during the month, posting three of his goals in the third period and six of his 13 points in the third frame or overtime.

Jets prospect Cole Perfetti soaking in on-the-job training in AHL

WINNIPEG, MB – The significance of the moment was not lost on Cole Perfetti, even if he didn’t grasp the enormity to its full extent in the immediate aftermath.

To the untrained eye, it looks like a simple inter-change during a four-on-three power play, yet the subtleties located just below the surface is what makes the sequence involving Perfetti and fellow Winnipeg Jets prospect Ville Heinola so special.

Perfetti rolls off the right-wing boards to the point on the power play, while Heinola quickly accelerates to push the penalty killer back ever so slightly.

Winnipeg Jets Prospect Cole Perfetti: “A Quarantine Professional Now”

WINNIPEG, MB – As high-level hockey tries to trudge through the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s players have been forced to adapt—an accept isolation as a lifestyle.

One player that knows this well is Winnipeg Jets prospect, Cole Perfetti. The 19 year-old has spent 34 days quarantining over the last three months, and since November 15, he has been living out of a hotel for all but three days. Not exactly an ideal scenario entering his first season in professional hockey.

Now in Winnipeg, Perfetti awaits his opportunity to reach his NHL dream

WINNIPEG, MB – When Cole Perfetti steps on the ice in Winnipeg in six days, he’ll be a rookie among a Jets roster full of veterans. Until then, he’s in quarantine for the third time since Nov. 23, so perhaps that makes him somewhat of a veteran.

“The days aren’t too bad. I’m able to cook my own food in here. I’ve got a nice little kitchenette, so that kills a couple hours in a day. That’s been keeping me sane,” said Perfetti on Tuesday.

“A lot of it is FaceTime, whether it’s friends or family, just keeping in touch with everyone. I have my PlayStation so I’ve been able to play video games with the guys back home.”

Perfetti, Winnipeg’s first round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, arrived in Winnipeg on Sunday after the team granted him some time to see his family after the 2021 World Junior Championship.

The visit was certainly well earned. On Nov. 16, the then 18-year-old Perfetti began Hockey Canada’s Selection Camp in Red Deer, AB. Following two positive cases, he and the rest of his Canadian teammates went into a two-week quarantine that had them isolating in hotel rooms.

Following that, he quarantined again prior to entering the World Junior bubble in Edmonton, then played seven games – scoring twice and adding four assists – as Canada took home the silver medal.

“To be part of Team Canada at the World Juniors is a dream come true and an honour. Words can’t really describe how it is to play for your country,” said Perfetti. “We put 55 days total together as a team in a hotel between Red Deer and Edmonton. Twenty of those days were quarantine days and we spent a lot of time in the summer on Zoom.”

Jets select Cole Perfetti 10th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft

WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Jets announced today they have selected forward Cole Perfetti with the 10th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Perfetti, 18, finished second in OHL scoring last season with 111 points (37G, 74A) in 61 games with the Saginaw Spirit. The product of Whitby, Ont. was also second in the OHL with 74 assists. He was selected to the OHL’s Second All-Star Team and as the OHL and CHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year. In 2018-19, Perfetti led OHL rookies with 37 goals and 74 points, as he was named to the OHL’s All-Rookie team. In two OHL seasons, he has tallied 185 points (74G, 111A) in 124 games.

Perfetti is the fifth player the Jets have selected in the top 10 of the first round since relocation in 2011, joining Mark Scheifele (7 – 2011), Jacob Trouba (9 – 2012), Nikolaj Ehlers(9 – 2014), and Patrik Laine (2 – 2016). Perfetti is also the third player the Jets have selected from the OHL in the first round, joining Scheifele and Logan Stanley (18 – 2016).