Perreault Finding his Niche with Ducks

Tuesday, 11.26.2013 / 11:23 AM / News
By Curtis Zupke | NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM – Mathieu Perreault couldn't even find escape on a golf course.

Late September is usually a safe time for veteran NHL players. Rosters are all but set, meaning trades are unlikely. But Perreault had a feeling he was about to get squeezed out of the Washington Capitals' plans, and the news all but interrupted his backswing.

"[Washington general manager] George McPhee gave me the call," Perreault said. "I was golfing with a bunch of the guys there. It was funny. We literally talked about it five minutes before the call came. I told the guys I thought I was going to get traded. Five minutes later …."

Did Perreault finish the round?

"[We were] three holes up," he said. "I finished it. But it was terrible. I was all over the place. I couldn't get my mind right."

It didn't take long for Perreault to find peace of mind on the other coast. He was sent to the Anaheim Ducks on Sept. 29 and has since become one of the steals of the early season.

Acquired for John Mitchell and a fourth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, Perreault had five goals and nine assists in his first 16 games with the Ducks. He shook out of a slump Saturday with an assist and has 15 points in 24 games, two points shy of his total in 39 games last season.

"I didn't know much about him at all," Ducks forward Teemu Selanne said. "He has been a nice surprise for us. You never know who's going to be available. When the GM is pulling the moves, sometimes you don't even know the guy."

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau certainly knew Perreault as one of the pieces from the high-scoring Capitals outfits during Boudreau's tenure as Washington coach from 2007 to 2012, and also with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. It's hardly surprising that Perreault seamlessly fit in under Boudreau's system at second- and third-line center. He scored his first goal as a Duck in overtime on Oct. 5 and gives Anaheim even more depth in the middle with Ryan Getzlaf, Saku Koivu and Nick Bonino.

Since Boudreau arrived in Anaheim, the Ducks have acquired former Capitals players Andrew Gordon and David Steckel. But Boudreau said his influence on Anaheim GM Bob Murray's decision to get Perreault went so far as to offer his opinion.

Washington reportedly needed to shed some salary to make room for younger players, although Perreault's expiring $1.1 million contract wouldn't seem to represent a heavy cap hit.

"I was really surprised," Boudreau said. "I didn't hear the name being mentioned. But I follow Washington still, and in the preseason Eric Fehr was getting third-line center, so I didn't know what they were going to do. Not that any of it was my call, anyway, but obviously Bob saw the same thing. He inquired.

"They asked me what he was like. I thought I gave them a pretty straightforward answer of what he is, and they thought that was going to make an upgrade on our team, so they made the deal."

Mathieu Perreault
Center - ANA
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 15
SOG: 48 | +/-: 8

Perreault paints a bolder picture of Boudreau's role in bringing him to Anaheim and said, "he's probably the main reason this trade happened."

"He gave me a call and told me that he pushed hard for me to come here," Perreault said. "He liked me as a player. He felt it was good to get another chance somewhere else. He was really excited for me."

Perreault helps make the Ducks one of the higher-scoring and more entertaining teams to watch in the League. Boudreau rolls four lines; a typical Ducks game will see no line with fewer than 15-17 shifts or more than about 25.

With Anaheim off to a great start, there is talk of it being a Stanley Cup contender. The backstory is whether another one of Boudreau's great regular-season teams can translate that to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Perreault sees similarities.

"A lot of depth, just like we had in Washington," he said. "In Washington, I was the fourth-line center. That shows the kind of depth we had there. We had four lines that could score. It's kind of the same here. Bruce is really good at getting the best out of his players. You see he had a lot of success in Washington, and he's got a lot of success here."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48
 

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