Detroit Red Wings took a gamble on Brendan Perlini, and it did not pay off well.
During the 2019-20 season, Detroit Red Wings General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman made a few trades to try and better this rebuilding organization. Back in October of 2019, Yzerman made a call to the Chicago Blackhawks to acquire Brendan Perlini in exchange for a defenseman prospect.
The Red Wings would ship out a third-round pick from the 2018 NHL Entry Draft by the name of Alec Regula. This may not have been the brightest move by Yzerman, who seemed to be on a “reclamation project” kick, given that he also brought in Robby Fabbri this season.
However, the Fabbri trade and the Perlini trade had steeply different outcomes when all is said and done after the 2019-20 regular season has been concluded. Some say a change in scenery is positive for a player, and this is an example of how it can go great and badly, dependent on the player.
Looking at the two players, Fabbri was a former first-round pick who struggled with injuries, and the change of scenery seemed to light a fire for him, and things turned out great.
Yzerman had given up a fourth-line forward in the form of Jacob de La Rose for Fabbri which was basically highway robbery.
After his resurgence, Fabbri has emerged as a second-line forward who has come into his own with the Red Wings and deserves to be kept around for the future. The trade was quite a win for the Red Wings organization, but Perlini’s deal does not look the same.
Simply put, Brendan Perlini failed to meet the Detroit Red Wings expectations.
When the Red Wings brought in Perlini, it was no secret that he was not a top-flight talent that they were acquiring. On the other hand, they gave up a defenseman whose value was sneaking up the charts and has seemingly become a prominent defenseman in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
Perlini has simply slowed down and never been able to get past that 25-point mark in his career besides 2017-18, where he had 30 points with the Arizona Coyotes. Before being traded to the organization, Perlini had played in only one game with the Blackhawks during the season.
This would change as Perlini became a more familiar face in the Red Wings bottom-six forwards, playing in 39 games over the rest of the 2019-20 season after joining the organization. In those 39 contests, Perlini would muster up a measly goal and three assists while performing minus-18 on the season.
The revitalization that happened with Fabbri did not seem to occur with Perlini. Now, being that Perlini was also a former first-round pick, but the spark was not lit for him during his move to the Red Wings organization.
Playing his youth hockey here in Michigan, some (including myself) seemed to think that him being able to “come home” would be good for him and hopefully allow him to get into a groove. The United Kingdom-born Perlini would not seem to be “at home,” struggling to get it going.
The Red Wings gave up a rising talent in Alec Regula for Brendan Perlini.
While Perlini never seemed to get it into gear here in Detroit, prospect defenseman Regula continued his development like nothing even happened. Regula saw a considerable jump in point totals during the 2019-20 season, topping both of his last two seasons in fewer games played.
The newest property of the Blackhawks is developing nicely, which sucks for Yzerman, who gave him away in hopes of turning Perlini into something. However, not every gamble is going to pay off; the success with Fabbri should outweigh the struggles of Perlini.
Perlini took home just under $875,000 on his contract last season, and Fabbri took home $900,000 on his deal. Both players are now restricted free agents at the age of 24, while Fabbri should be looking at a nice extension, it will not be the same for Perlini.
Venturing a guess, Perlini will be brought back one “prove yourself” contract for a year given that the Red Wings should have the capital to do so with no issues. Yzerman’s hopes for Perlini may not be completely gone yet, but he failed to meet expectations in 2019-20, even if they were lower than Fabbri’s were after his trade.
The Detroit Red Wings rebuild rages on, Brendan Perlini will have to prove he belongs in the winged-wheel uniform after an underwhelming first go with the team.