Cole Perfetti his sights on making Team Canada and then Jets rosters
On Monday the Jets announced the signing of Cole Perfetti to a three-year entry level contract. The Jets first round draft pick in 2020 comes with a cap hit of $925,000 annually.
At 18-years old Perfetti did not have the luxury of growing up during the days of handwriting five-page essays in school like many of us did because Microsoft Word was not a thing.
So, when the pieces of paper that made up Perfetti’s entry level contract arrived, he needed a moment to take in how special that paper was.
"When I first got the hard copy, I looked it up and down. I couldn't really believe it," Perfetti said Monday in a conference call with the media. "It's hard to believe that you work so hard all your life, then it all starts to pay off with one signature on a piece of paper. It's pretty surreal."
The next step for Perfetti in his professional career is to enter his first Jets training camp. It’s still unknown when that training camp will be, but whenever it does begin, Perfetti is going into it with a big goal in mind: making the Jets opening night roster.
“I can't wait for that. It's going to be very hard, and obviously the Jets are going to have a plan for me in what they want and a goal for me," said Perfetti. "Hopefully I earn a spot and play very good at camp and they're forced to keep me there, but I'll be happy with whatever the plan is. My goal will always be making the NHL as fast as possible."
Motivation comes in different ways. Money, success, fame, personal goals, etc… If money and success are a motivating factor for Perfetti, then his entry-level contract should be all the motivation he needs.
Perfetti’s base salary is set at $832,500 but includes an annual signing bonus of $92,500 and performance bonuses of up to $500,000 in year one and then up to $850,000 in years two and three.
But there’s one performance bonus that sticks out among the pack, and that’s making the NHL’s all-rookie team in his first season.
“A lot of the bonuses were pretty standard. One that stuck out to me and my agents was the all-rookie team,” he said. A couple of my buddies have received that and made the all-rookie team and they got a nice bonus from that. That’s something I think is attainable, something that I really want to accomplish and something that me and my agents thought was beneficial to put into the contract.”
In a normal world, Perfetti would have either already made the Jets roster, or would be back in Saginaw, dominating in the OHL once again.
But as you’re well aware, 2020 is no normal year. While he can’t be on the ice with teammates in game action, Perfetti is treating this unique offseason as he would any other summer.
“Since the draft, it’s kinda been the same as my summer routine. Just been working out every day, skating a lot,” said Perfetti. “I’ve been doing a lot. Five days in the gym every week, skating three, four times a week, doing the spin class with a couple of my buddies to work on conditioning.”
Regardless of what happens in the next few weeks from a NHL standpoint, these next few weeks will be important ones for Perfetti who will head to Red Deer to participate in Hockey Canada’s Selection Camp with a goal of representing Team Canada in the World Junior Championship next month.
Perfetti hopes that this camp and then likely ensuing tournament helps push him further along once he makes his first Jets camp appearance.
"I think this is the closest hockey you can get to the next level, to the NHL. The mixture of the pace and the skill, the quality of play out there, it's definitely going to prepare me if I can make that team to go into Jets camp and feel really prepared, and be playing the top level of hockey going into the next level,” he said.
Next week’s camp won’t be Perfetti’s first. He was an invite last year but failed to make the team as he was cut later in camp. Canada would go on to win gold without Perfetti in the fold.
"There are so many lessons you can learn in being cut from a team," said Perfetti. "The big lesson for me was how to bounce back from adversity. Being cut, it's tough, especially from a team like that and that level of hockey.”
After being selected by the Jets 10th overall, Perfetti immediately talked about coming in with a chip on his shoulder, and will look to show the teams who passed on him that they made a mistake.
From not making Team Canada a year ago, to being passed on nine times in the draft, Perfetti seems to take disappointment and turn it into motivation.
“It’s definitely disappointing, but I learned a lot in how to use that as motivation and fuel me for the rest of the season. And up until this point, I’m still using that motivation from being cut last year and taking that into camp this year and hopefully make the team this time around.”
Perfetti certainly proved his motivation, finishing his 2019-20 season with 37 goals and 74 assists in 61 games.
Although the NHL still is targeting a start date of January 1, 2021 it seems less likely by the day. Even if the NHL can still pull off a New Year’s Day start date, the World Juniors are going to feature players that normally wouldn’t be there had the NHL started in its normal time of October.
That’s something that excites Perfetti.
"That tournament is going to be crazy this year,” he said.
“There is going to be a lot of players that normally wouldn't be there. For example, Kirby Dach coming back to Canada, that's a huge boost to the roster and the line-up. All the countries are going to be like that.”
It’s going to be back-to-back camps of Perfetti competing for roster spots. Competition is always good. Something tells me Perfetti will be up for the challenge.