New York only has five picks in the draft this year, and only one in the first two rounds, having traded away much of their draft capital to compete in the last two playoff runs. Still, Drury managed to hold onto this year’s first round pick, and elected to go with 18 year old right wing, Gabriel Perreault.
The Illinois native, is the son of former NHLer Yanic Perreault and played for new assistant coach Dan Muse in the US National Development Team. He broke Auston Matthews’ team record for points in a season, and really broke out after adding about 25 pounds prior to the start of the year.
Next year he’ll play for Boston College, where he’ll look to bring his offensive game to the next level. As an 18 year old on the younger side (he turned 18 in May), he’ll face a much higher level of competition playing for Brendan Buckley. Buckley saw Perreault playing for the USNDTP and saw a Hockey IQ that was “off the charts”, and stepped up his efforts to recruit him to one of the premier college programs in the country.
While the Rangers picked him at 23, many draft specialists had him going earlier with Central Scouting moving him up to 10th among North American Skaters in their final rankings. He actually outscored #4 pick Will Smith, as well as #8 Ryan Leonard, all of whom played in the same program.
On Saturday, he passed Auston Matthews to set the U.S. NTDP’s all-time single-season scoring record. On Tuesday, he wrapped up group play at U18 worlds with 15 points in four games. Entering Thursday’s quarterfinal, he had 125 points in 59 games this year all told, eight points clear of Matthews in one fewer game — with as many as three games left to add to his gaudy totals.
His historic run of production has made him one of the top prospects in the 2023 NHL Draft. A couple of weeks ago, NHL Central Scouting moved him from No. 15 on their midseason list of the draft’s top North American skaters to No. 10.
Dan Muse, his head coach with the national program, told The Athletic earlier this year that Gabe’s hockey sense is “at a crazy-high level.”
The addition of Perreault arguably makes him the best rated forward in the Rangers system, perhaps even passing the promising 2021 first round pick Brennan Othmann in terms of impact potential. There’s certainly plenty to be excited about, though it will likely take 2-3 years before we see his name as a potential addition to the Rangers line-up.
With his commitment to Boston College and the NCAA, we’ll probably see him at Development Camp in the next week or so, but unlikely to be a participant in the Prospect Camp in September.