Here are accumulated notes on two of the 2020 NHL Draft’s top forward prospects from three of the top amateur scouts in the business. All are crossover scouts that see prospects in all of the leagues on both sides of the ocean. Opinions were gathered at various points in the season.
Cole Perfetti C/LW Saginaw OHL 2002-01-01 5-10.5 177
2019-20 Stats – 61GP 37 74 111Pts Shoots Left
Ontario-based crossover scout Feb. 2020 – I think he’s a winger. I think he’ll handle the wing better than Rossi would. His entries are as good as anybody’s in the draft. His entry decisions, his entry plays, his creativity on entries…it matches up with anybody’s. He’s a frame ahead. His skating baffles me a little bit. I’ve seen him go when he’s had to go. The combination of needing to come strength-wise a little bit, but also…he plays like a pro; he goes when he needs to go a little bit. I am thinking his skating is there, but obviously needs work a little bit. I think it’s more dealing with being a 17-18-year-old.
Ontario-based crossover scout Feb. 2020 – I think he’s going to be a better winger. He’ll be efficient in the middle, but I think his best game as a pro will be on the wing. He’s not going to be a first-line center…not for me. He’d be a really good player to have, because, in a crunch, he’ll fill some minutes as a second-line center. I think he’s Brad Richards’ career potential. Smart, decisions, possession…it’s all good…he rarely gives the puck away, he does really seem like a frame ahead of others. I like him a lot.
Quebec-based crossover scout Apr. 2020 – His playmaking is unbelievable; and if you look at some of his stats…he only had about 40 goals scored against him 5-on-5. He has the puck all the time. I’m not saying he’s a great defender; but when his line is out there, they have possession; that’s what it looks like to me. Possession time is very important. I think that’s probably the biggest reason for that number. There’s nobody that I’ve seen that has those primary assists like him. That’s what stands out the most for me. On zone entries; he get so much respect from defenders…they know he’s got so many options. It’s hard to attack him…he just leaves them standing there thinking ‘what just happened here.’ He sees it. His anticipation is off the charts. Rossi sees the ice too and he makes great plays…he’s kind of like that himself, but I think Perfetti does it the best. He’s like Nick Suzuki in that way.
Ontario-based crossover scout Apr. 2020 – He’s a great player, but he might be just a great regular-season player. He’s not hard at all. He does not battle; he just makes plays. He’s an outside player; what happens in the playoffs if he plays that way? Do they just stomp him out? A lot of growth has to come in his game; there’s questions that way. He’s no big guy either…he’s 5-10. He’s got to get stronger, and he will. I have Perfetti ahead of the second tier of forwards, but I have questions. He just has to work out some things. Play harder and be more competitive. In those fairweather games; he just picks it apart. It’s unbelievable. I just want to see him be more involved. Win a few battles. Just got to be harder.
Ontario-based crossover scout Apr. 2020 – I watched this guy on video a lot in the past month, and he’s special. He makes others better. He can carry a line, he makes others better. He’s got bite to him too. He’s not a soft finesse guy. He’s got some pushback, and he’s so smart. He can play wing or center, it doesn’t matter…he’ll make his linemates better. I’ve never thought that his competitiveness was an issue. He’s not a one-way guy for me; I thought he was good defensively because he’s so smart. He’s got to work on his skating and stamina.
Dawson Mercer RW Chicoutimi QMJHL 2002-1-27 6-0 180
2019-20 Stats – 42GP 24 36 60Pts Shoots Right
Quebec-based crossover scout Feb. 2020 – He makes plays. He’s got a little bit of a deceiving shot, too. I think he fell back a little bit because he didn’t fit in that well in Chicoutimi, playing with Lavoie who is hard to play with. Got a little better down the stretch but then the season ended. He might have been better in the playoffs. But he was a leader in Drummondville. He got traded because they didn’t think he was going to be around next year, I think.
Quebec-based crossover scout Apr. 2020 – Mercer doesn’t look pretty, but he gets there. He needs to get stronger; he’s got one of those bodies kind of like Quinn…he’s got to work on it. I would probably project him as a third-line guy, but a player I’d really like to get because he can play in special situations. I like the character, I like the special teams’ potential. His downside for me is the third line. I can depend on him more. He’s a pretty smart player, he makes a lot of plays, more than you’d think. A lot of good small plays. Don’t notice him sometimes but he’s always a part of something. Early in the year I thought he was going to be a 10-15 guy because he was really good there, and really good in the CHL Super Series.
Ontario-based crossover scout Apr. 2020 – Scouts are going to like Mercer for what he does today; he’s easy to like. He’s a hard-working player with strong puck pursuit, he does a lot of things well, but his skating is not very good. Structurally, there are faults. I don’t find him elite in any one thing. He’s good in a lot of things, but for me his skating knocks him back a notch to third-line upside. A guy I want on my team, he’s going to help you win, but if you get a chance to get a guy with higher upside, you usually go with the higher upside unless you want to go with the safer pick like him or Holloway. Everything comes from his effort, not his mind. An easy guy for a junior coach to fall in love with, too. You know what you get when you put him over the boards.