“I would like to come out in the top 10 or close to the repechage”: Gabriel Perreault, the son of Yanic, had a magical season with the American program

“I'd like to make it to the top 10 or close to the draft» : Gabriel Perreault, Yanic's son, had a magical season with the American program

MISE & Agrave; DAY

Originally from Sherbrooke, he grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. On the international scene, he represents the United States. He is the youngest of four children of Yanic Perreault.

Like his father, hockey runs through the veins of Gabriel Perreault. With the U.S. Under-18 program, he was renamed Gabe. A bit like Daniel Brière and Vincent Lecevalier who saw their first names change to Danny and Vinny. 

Gabriel has lost none of his Quebec origins. 

“I moved to Chicago when I was still in elementary school, said the winger, in the language of Denis Savard. Since my third year, I have been studying in English and my world remains English-speaking. But at home, it's always in French.”

Before the big brother

The name of Gabriel Perreault will circulate more and more here on June 28, the date of the NHL draft in Nashville. The 5 ft, 11 in and 171 lb winger is one of the very good prospects for this auction. 

According to NHL Central Scouting, he ranks 10th among North American prospects. But his rating is on the rise. 

“I would like to come out in the top 10 or close to that, said Gabriel in an interview with the Journal de Montréal. However, that doesn't mean too much. After the draft, you have to chart your own path. It's more important to work like crazy after the draft than your selection rank.”

There is never certainty, but he should know his fate before his big brother, Jacob, the 27th overall pick at the 2020 auction by the Anaheim Ducks. 

“ He will also beat my selection rank, replied Yanic, bursting out laughing. I got drafted in the third round in 1991 by the Maple Leafs.”

“At a draft, you never know what to expect, continued the father. With Jacob, there are teams that told us that they wanted to draft him if he was still available at their rank. And they chose another player.”

“I don't get too wet with the repechage. I can only say that Gabriel has placed the odds in his favor with a good season. I dare not predict a rank for him.” 

A record

A good season. That's an understatement. Gabriel wrote his name in the U.S. Under-18 program's record book with 132 points (53 goals, 79 assists) in 63 games. Will Smith, his line partner, also broke the old mark with 127 points (51 goals, 76 assists) in 60 games. 

Before this year, Auston Matthews held the record at 117 points in 2014-2015. Jack Hughes, Clayton Keller, Patrick Kane and Cole Caufield have also reached the symbolic figure of 100 points in recent years. 

“I would not have predicted this before the start of the season, recognized Gabriel. I was playing with very good players in Will Smith and Ryan Leonard. We had an incredible bond. Will and I broke the record. It's really special. I watch Matthews, Hughes and Keller in the NHL. I think it's cool to see my name with them.” 

Natural abilities

The apple didn't fall far from the tree . During his years in the QMJHL (1988-1989 to 1990-1991), Yanic had seasons of 108, 114 and 185 points with the Draveurs de Trois-Rivières. However, recruiters found him a little frail and not fast enough. 

We hear a bit of the same refrain with Gabriel. 

“I describe him as an excellent playmaker and a young person with nimble hands, noted a Western Conference scout. His sense of the game and his creativity are very high. He's not the fastest for his size, though.”

Yanic, who works as a development coach with the Chicago Blackhawks, expects his youngest to flourish again. more than himself at the NHL level. 

“Hockey has changed since my years. When I made my professional debut, it was still the time of the clash. Creativity had less of a place. Today, we rely more on talent, skills, speed and the puck moves quickly. For a youngster like Gabriel with good offensive skills, it's a good time to land in the NHL.”

“There will be a big march before the NHL, added Gabriel. I will have to spend time in the gym. I will need to strengthen myself and add some weight. I also need to keep shooting pucks in my basement!” 

A hockey family

Pucks in the basement, there were tons at the Perreaults. Yanic and his spouse July have four children. Jeremy, the oldest, is now an assistant coach with the Chicago Mission (U18), Liliane has just completed a fifth season of women's hockey at Mercyhurst University and Jacob plays in the American League in San Diego. Gabriel is the youngest child. 

Gabriel with his mother, July

Boston College

Gabriel will not follow the same path as his big brother Jacob, a former Sarnia Sting in the Ontario Junior League. He opted for the NCAA adventure. He will don the Boston College Eagles uniform next year. Will Smith and Ryan Leonard also chose this university. The dynamic trio will reunite with Cutter Gauthier, the Philadelphia Flyers' fifth overall pick in the 2022 draft. said Gabriel. We will continue our journey. We are also very good friends, it helped us on the ice.

Chicago or Montreal

The Blackhawks won the lottery for Connor Bedard. The Canadiens retained the fifth overall pick. The Hawks also have the first round pick of the Lightning, while the CH has the first round pick of the Panthers. 

“Chicago and Montreal would be the two teams for a dream scenario, replied Gabriel . But no matter the team, I will be so happy. I just want to hear my name.” 

“I don't have any expectations,” added Yanic. I want to see him land in a team that wants him. Whether it's Chicago, Montreal or elsewhere, Gabriel will have to make his way. I will help and encourage him.” 

Gold in Switzerland

Perreault won the gold medal with Team USA at the Under-18 World Championship in Basel, Switzerland. In the final, the United States beat Sweden 3-2 in overtime on April 30. Smith (20 points), Perreault (18 points) and Leonard (17 points) finished at the top of the points in this tournament. 

“This gold medal crowned the work of two years with the American program, said Gabriel. I still had a lot of fun with my line partners.”

“The three complement each other well, they are different attackers, added Yanic. It really clicked. Gabriel and Will made several games and Ryan brought a different dimension with his scoring skills and his toughness. The three won't wait too long to step onto the dais in the draft!”

While Perreault is expected to be a top-20 pick, Smith is described as a top-5 contender and Leonard as a likely top 10 pick.