No. 9: Francis Perron (Reader rank: 11, Last year: 23)
The Ottawa Senators have found their seventh round draft pick in 2014 to be an absolute steal.
Snagging Francis Perron 190th overall two years ago, they’ve seen the 20-year-old flourish in an increased role with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL ever since draft day.
After two average seasons for a player of his calibre and age, Perron opened many scouts’ eyes when he recorded 76 (29, 47) points in 64 games during a breakout year in 2015. A first-round exit in the playoffs would put a damper on an otherwise successful campaign, but he would smash his personal bests in the next.
In the 2015-16 season, Perron was given the “C”. Leading his team in more ways than one now, it was clear he had turned into quite the impactful player.
Tallying 108 (41, 67) points in 62 games, the Laval, Quebec, native led the charge as the Huskies finished first place in the entire CHL. And because of his outstanding contributions, Perron took home the QMJHL’s regular season MVP award.
He would add a couple more items to his trophy case in the playoffs.
The Huskies captured the President’s Cup after losing only four games in four series on their way to a Memorial Cup birth. Perron was his spectacular self in the postseason, recording 33 (12, 21) points in 18 games, en route to another MVP award.
Rouyn-Noranda’s season ended with a loss to the London Knights in the Memorial Cup Final - Perron still managed 8 (2, 6) points in 5 games - but the squad would likely call the season a success finishing second overall out of 60 teams in the country.
On March 15, the Senators locked up their thriving prospect for three years with an entry-level contract with an AAV of $703,333 in the NHL. Perron will likely start the year in Binghamton with the organization’s AHL affiliate for his first taste of professional hockey.
The 6’0”, 165 pound centre is looking to bulk up this summer, stating his goal is to weigh 175 pounds come training camp. Perron won’t make the Senators in early October, but in the coming years, he could very likely be challenging for the final couple spots on the NHL roster.
A late-rounder with a plethora of potential, Ottawa has found themselves a gem in Francis Perron.