The NHL Entry Draft will occur on June 28 & 29 in Nashville. If it seems like we’ve been looking towards this date since CHGO Blackhawks launched in March of 2022, it’s because we have! The Chicago Blackhawks won the right to draft future superstar Connor Bedard with the first overall pick. However, they currently own 10 picks in one of the deepest drafts in recent years, including six in the first two rounds. With that in mind, the CHGO Blackhawks crew will dive into some of the prospects the team is potentially targeting for some of those picks after changing the course of the franchise with the number one pick.
Today we profile Chicago Steel forward, Jayden Perron.
Jayden Perron Measurables
Position: Right Wing
Weight: 165 pounds
“He’s a cerebral playmaker with the puck, utilizing a deke when necessary but also having the maturity to delay when he’s outnumbered. He’s a dangerous stickhandler and can turn a careless reach from a defender into a high-quality scoring chance for himself or a teammate. He plays nicely away from the puck in the offensive zone, especially as the high man, where he keeps his feet moving in an attempt to lose coverage before swooping down when his linemates get possession.” – Elite Prospects 2023 Draft Guide
“Jayden Perron is projected as a potential top-six winger at the NHL level. If he can work on adding more muscle to his frame, it will make his game more well-rounded, as he has the hockey smarts and offensive creativity. Nowadays, smaller players can dominate the NHL, so Perron being on the shorter end of the spectrum is not a knock on his game. Whatever team drafts him will just have to work on his muscle game.” – Clare McManus, Smaht Scouting
“Apart from Connor Bedard, Jayden Perron may be the best off-puck offensive mover in the draft class. His nearly unparalleled knack for finding space in the slot and timing those decisive routes to fall behind coverage forms the crux of his offensive upside, as he thinks the game at a high enough level to indicate the translatability of this habit.” – Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects
Why Jayden Perron Fits with the Blackhawks
While we all agree the Blackhawks will look for size in this year’s draft, it doesn’t mean every pick after Bedard will be at least 6-foot-2. Perron is not the size of a big, bruising forward, but he has more than enough skill to make up for it. Blackhawks fans who made the trip to Geneva to see the Steel this past season saw Perron put up 24 goals and 72 points in his 61 USHL games. He could be yet another first-round draft pick to come out of the Steel program, joining the likes of Adam Fantilli, Owen Power, Matt Coronado, Mackie Samoskevich, and Brendan Brisson.
Perron has a high hockey IQ, creativity, and an outstanding work ethic. He is a playmaker at heart who seems to play the game two steps ahead of everyone else on the ice. His good hands allow him to set up his linemates and finish on his own. While offense is Perron’s strong suit, he is no slouch when it comes to playing without the puck either. He’s not a defensive wizard by any means, but he tracks the puck well and does a good job backchecking. He definitely does not shy away from his defensive responsibilities.
Some scouts have Perron projecting as a top-six forward, while others are not sold. His smarts and skill level have his ceiling pretty high. He does need to improve his skating and add some strength and muscle to his frame, but you can say that about most 18-year-old hockey players. He is committed to playing for the University of North Dakota next season. A couple of years at one of the top college hockey programs will work wonders for him regarding his development and growth.
Photo Courtesy: Kirsten Krull, The Rink Live