The only way Scott Perunovich’s season could get any better at this point is if the NHL allows him to sign and play with the St. Louis Blues this season. The talented young defenseman has added another trophy to his wall, winning the Jim Johannson College Player of the Year Award. Perunovich previously won the Hobey Baker and agreed to join the Blues organization.
University of Minnesota-Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin explained just why Perunovich was so important to his team:
He was a go-to guy for us, who played a ton of minutes. He’s always been a really talented offensive player with great vision, but I saw the development and how he has grown over the years here. It’s a great honor and the accolades he’s getting are certainly well deserved.
Perunovich, 21, acknowledged his teammates in his acceptance statement, but there is no doubt that he was the leader on UMD. With 40 points in 34 games he led the team in scoring despite playing defense, and was seemingly on the ice for every second shift all season long.
The second-round pick will now have to wait and see whether the NHLPA can convince the league to allow new contracts for 2019-20 so that he can help the Blues in a playoff run. So far the NHL has not budged, meaning Perunovich most likely will have to wait until 2020-21 to make an impact.
While undersized, there’s no doubting Perunovich’s talent with the puck and ability to find open teammates for scoring chances. There could be a period of adjustment at a higher level, but Blues fans are excited for him to get the opportunity.