The St. Louis Blues prospect Scott Perunovich has racked up some very impressive collegiate awards. He earned another one from USA Hockey.
The last two seasons for St. Louis Blues prospect Scott Perunovich have been very eventful. He won a second national title last year. Though there was no chance for a championship repeat this year due to the pandemic, Perunovich has racked up the awards.
The Blues signed him to an entry-level deal, meaning he will turn pro in 2020-21. Whether that means he gets a sniff at the NHL or the AHL is up to him.
Nevertheless, his offseason is not done as far as collecting hardware. USA Hockey just announced that Perunovich has been given one more award.
USA Hockey named him the recipient of their Jim Johannson College Player of Year Award. The award is given to the top American-born collegiate hockey player.
According to USA Hockey’s website, the award was established in 1994. It was renamed in 2019 in honor of Jim Johannson, who played at the University of Wisconsin and then spent most of his career as an executive with the USA Hockey organization.
Normally I am one to wait and see how someone pans out. Lots of college greats, in many sports, went on to either mediocre careers in the pros or no career at all. Sometimes the jump is just too much.
That is definitely possible for Perunovich. However, given how highly touted he is and the effort he has made to get better on defense and all aspects of the game, I believe this kid is going to make it in the NHL. That will likely be sooner than later.
The Blues are ones to give prospects all the time they need to make a serious jump into the NHL when ready. That said, if Alex Pietrangelo walks in free agency, the Blues will have a roster spot open and a slight lack of depth on defense in the minor league system.
Nikko Mikkola and Jake Walman are still on a lot of radars. Even so, the blue line has not sparked the same excitement in up and coming players as the forwards have.
Part of that is due to the position in general. Part is due to lack of real depth. Perunovich could have a wide open window if he seized the opportunity.
For now, he’s focusing on the moment. “It’s definitely exciting, for sure,” Perunovich said of winning the award in USA Hockey’s article. “Especially during this time of [coronavirus] quarantine with my family. It’s something to look forward to and share together. It means a lot to my family, my teammates and the city of Duluth.”
What excites me about Perunovich is his willingness to learn and improve. He didn’t rest on his laurels and hope his offensive ability would be enough.
"“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.” – Scott Sandelin, Minnesota-Duluth head coach via USAHockey.com"
Whether it is a year from now or longer, this guy is definitely one to keep an eye on. The Blues will need defenders to replenish their ranks soon and Perunovich might be just the right guy for St. Louis.