The Chicago Blackhawks have settled on a one-year deal with restricted free agent Brendan Perlini, giving him another chance to show what he can do for the organization. Perlini arrived in Chicago as part of the Nick Schmaltz–Dylan Strome trade last season but scored just 15 points in 46 games with the team. The deal will be for just $874,125 which was the qualifying offer extended to Perlini earlier this summer.
Perlini, 23, was a first-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes in 2014 and quickly made an impact at the NHL level by scoring 14 goals in 57 games as a rookie in 2016-17. That goal scoring ability continued in his sophomore season but seemed to disappear last year for the big winger, at least until he got to Chicago. The inconsistency he’s shown at the NHL level—he scored eight of his 12 goals with the Blackhawks in a seven-game span—will need to be corrected if he is ever going to be relied upon as an offensive weapon or climb into the top-six on a full-time basis.
That’s not to say there’s no hope when it comes to Perlini though. Standing 6’3 and well over 200-lbs he will likely have a place in the NHL just because of his size, strength and speed, but this season will be a sort of crossroads in his career to determine whether he’ll be a core piece to build around or just a secondary asset for the Blackhawks. He will be a restricted free agent once again next summer, hopefully with a little more production to base his negotiations on.