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NHL Washington Capitals

Mathieu Perreault Will Have Best Season Yet as a Washington Capital

Mathieu Perreault

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Capitals
center Mathieu Perreault is the kind of player that every NHL team should have. He’s a steady and solid performer who plays extremely well without a ridiculously high price tag.

Perreault, 25, excels in any line (including the top line on many occasions), which makes him an ideal go-to guy. He’s productive and rarely costly—he was on ice for only eight even-strength opposition goals during the last 31 games of the 2012-13 season. He’s part of the Caps’ group of lower tier forwards (along with Jason Chimera, Joel Ward and Eric Fehr), but he always gives his best which is evident for all to see.

A sixth-round draft pick in 2006 (177th overall), Perrault was impressive during his time in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League tallying an astonishing 41 goals and 78 assists in his second season.

He followed up with a smooth transition to the AHL, scoring 11 goals and 39 assists in his first full season with the Hershey Bears in 2008-09. It was his consistent improvement during his junior league and AHL tenures that saw him play his first NHL game for Washington in the 2009-10 season.

Perreault is one of the lightest players in the NHL at around 180 pounds soaking wet, but that helps him to jet around the ice like a whippet—getting into position quickly—never afraid to dart into crowded areas. His best season in the NHL was the 2011-12 campaign with 30 points and a plus/minus rating of plus-nine. He racked up a comparable 17 points over 39 games last season.

However, it took some time for coach Adam Oates to warm up to the Quebec native. Perreault was a healthy scratch for the first six games of the Caps’ 2013 term, but when given his first start, he chalked up five points in his first three games and there was no looking back from then on.

Perreault was a significant part of the Capitals’ run to the playoffs last season, not by generating a ton of points but by performing as a true team player. He has speed, tenacity and bravery that make up for his slight build.

I expect the upcoming season to be Perreault’s best yet in a Caps jersey. He should be looking at a full season and will likely break the 20-goal mark.

G.J. Cosker is a Washington Capitals writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.