Cole Perfetti agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract with the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.
The 18-year-old forward was selected in the first round (No. 10) of the 2020 NHL Draft on Oct. 6. He’s one of 46 players invited to Canada Selection Camp in Red Deer, Alberta, from Nov. 16 to Dec. 13 that will help choose the roster for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, to be held at Rogers Place in Edmonton from Dec. 25 to Jan. 5.
“I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a little kid, as long as I can remember,” Perfetti told the Jets website. “Hopefully things go as planned and I have a good camp and can make that team. That would be the ultimate goal.”
Perfetti scored 111 points (37 goals, 74 assists) in 61 games for Saginaw of the Ontario Hockey League last season, second in the league and a Spirit single-season record. The Jets had Crystal Hawerchuk, the wife of the late Dale Hawerchuk, announce the selection of Perfetti at the 2020 draft.
Hawerchuk wore No. 10 for the Jets from 1981 to 1990. The Hockey Hall of Famer and leading scorer of the original Jets with 379 goals and 929 points died from stomach cancer at 57 on Aug. 18.
“Just a real special moment,” Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said. “The way the stars aligned in our 10th year, when we had the opportunity for the 10th pick, we had the idea that who better to make it than the greatest No. 10 in the Winnipeg Jets history?
“When we talked to her and the family, the raw emotion, it just felt so special.”
Perfetti played wing and center for Saginaw. He said Oct. 7 his preference is center.
“I think I’m a better centerman and can make more of an impact there,” Perfetti said. “But at the end of the day I’ve played wing and center my entire life, so whatever the coach (Paul Maurice) wants and be excited to do so. Come in and be happy and hungry for sure.”