Brendan Perlini, the forward Arizona took 12th overall at the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when the Coyotes take on the Blue Jackets in Columbus.
Perlini, 20, has been solid this year in AHL Tucson — his first full American League campaign — with 11 goals and 16 points through 16 games. He’s tied atop the league’s goalscoring leaderboard with three other players (including Toronto prospect Kasperi Kapanen), but Perlini has done it in the fewest amount of contests.
A former OHL standout with Niagara, Perlini is the latest example of the youth movement that’s taken over Arizona this season.
Some of the kids that have suited up include:
— Jakob Chychrun, the 18-year-old defenseman taken 16th overall in June.
— 19-year-old Dylan Strome, who has since been returned to his junior club in OHL Erie.
— Lawson Crouse, the 19-year-old power forward acquired from Florida this offseason.
— 20-year-old Christian Dvorak, the 58th overall pick in ’14.
— Anthony DeAngelo, the 21-year-old d-man acquired from Tampa Bay at this year’s draft.
As you might expect from such a young team, the Coyotes have struggled this season. They’re 8-11-4 heading into tonight’s action, but have done a decent job of getting points recently — they’re 3-2-2 over the last seven games, though they needed a career-high 58 saves from Mike Smith on Saturday to steal a point against the Jackets.