On Aug 7, 2021, the Edmonton Oilers signed former first-round draft pick, Brendan Perlini to a one-year, two-way deal worth $750,000 per year. Perlini played in the Swiss National League last season, but he does have 239 NHL games under his belt— split between the Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks, and the Detroit Red Wings organizations.
This year, he’s looking to re-establish his career as an NHL player. Through two preseason games, Perlini has impressed. He’s shown good puck anticipation, a strong skating stride and an ability to get his shot off quickly— netting three goals in two games.
As preseason continues and Perlini presses for a roster spot, below are four unique things fans might not know about him.
Perlini Was Born in England
Perlini was born in Guildford— a town in England, and lived there until he was 11 years old. At the time, his father was playing professional hockey in the British Hockey League (BHL). It was in Guildford, where he and his brother, Brett, first learned to skate and fell in love with the game of hockey. Growing up overseas, in the not-so-hockey-hotbed of England, Perlini had to travel to other countries to find more ice time.
“We would drive 20 minutes to Dover, hop on a ferry and be in France. To do all that travelling from a young age, see so much, it was awesome. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.”(From “Upbringing in England Gives New Blackhawk Brendan Perlini a Unique Perspective on Hockey, Chicago Tribune, 11/30/18)
Due to the lack of hockey rinks, he and his brother honed their skills playing roller hockey, and their father always made sure to have a net set up for them to fire pucks at (from “Cheers, Mate: Brendan Perlini’s Career Journey Takes Him From England to Chicago,” The Athletic, 10/29/2018).
His father, Fred Perlini— originally from Ontario, moved the family back to Canada when the younger Perlini was 11, settling in Sault Ste. Marie, ON.
Perlini Has a Nickname
Oilers players are notorious for having nicknames. Time and again, fans use players’ nicknames more often than their given names. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is “Nuge”, Darnell Nurse is “Doc”, but Oilers fans might have to learn a new one:
“My main nickname is ‘Bubz’. I think I’ve had it since I was probably three years old. Don’t ask me how it started— I think it was my dad, but it just stuck with me.”(Niagra IceDogs, Brendan Perlini)
If Perlini earns a spot full-time on the Oilers and continues lighting the lamp, “Bubz” chants might be heard in Rogers Place in the near future.
He’s Not the First Perlini to Play in the NHL
Hockey is in the Perlini bloodlines. His father, Fred was a former professional hockey player. Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, his father was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs— 158th overall in the 1980 NHL Draft. That season, he would play in seven games for the Maple Leafs, registering two goals and three assists.
In total, Fred would only play in eight NHL games and spent most of his professional hockey career in North America, playing in the American Hockey League (AHL). In 256 AHL games, he recorded 140 points. Thereafter, Perlini moved to the United Kingdom to continue his career. In 266 games in the British Hockey League (BHL), Perlini registered a jaw-dropping 1125 points— 4.22 points-per-game (P/G).
Perlini Represented Team Canada
Although Perlini was born in England, he also has a Canadian citizenship. When he was 15 years old, Perlini was drafted by the Barrie Colts in the first round of the 2012 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Draft; however, he was traded to the Niagra IceDogs halfway through the 2012-13 season. The following year, he had a stellar campaign and registered 72 points in 58 games— gaining the interest of Team Canada.
Perlini was selected to represent Team Canada at the 2014 World Under-18 Championship. He finished second on the team in points, with three goals and two assists in seven games— even beating out teammates Brayden Point and Matthew Barzal. Team Canada would settle for a bronze medal that year, with Perlini scoring a goal in the final game.
Two years later, he would suit up for Team Canada on another occasion, being selected to play at the 2016 World Under-20 Championship. He would play in five games, before Canada lost to Finland— led by now Oilers’ teammate, Jesse Puljujarvi, in the quarterfinals.
The son of a former NHL player and hailing from Guildford, England, Perlini has had a nonconventional path to the NHL. If he continues his preseason success, Oilers fans will have a chance to see “Bubz” on opening night Oct. 13 at Rogers Place.
He’s the first ever Ultimate MVP fan of the NHL as declared by Upperdeck – He’s been featured on CBC Radio providing hockey analysis for the Edmonton Oilers – He’s a freelance writer and Edmonton Oilers’ Sportswriter for the Hockey Writers.