What Brendan Perlini sees with the Red Wings is an opportunity, which is all he can ask for, and all he wants.
Perlini didn’t have much of a chance in Chicago, leading to Monday’s trade, Perlini coming to the Wings and prospect Alec Regula headed to the Blackhawks.
At his first practice Thursday, Perlini was on a line with Taro Hirose and Frans Nielsen, was on a power play unit, and was securely in the Wings’ lineup.
Perlini was excited about the opportunity ahead.
“For me, I haven’t played too much this year,” said Perlini, who played in one of the Blackhawks’ 11 games. “I’m excited to get back in and show these guys hwere what I can do with my speed and shot. I’m excited for a fresh start and opportunity here.
“It seems like everyone is a good guy here and it’s a good group, so it’s going to be fun.”
Perlini was the first-round pick of Arizona in 2014 — chosen three picks ahead of his friend and former Belle Tire teammate Dylan Larkin — and had seasons of 14 and 17 goals scored.
Both Arizona, and to a lesser extent Chicago, are situations similar to the Wings, rebuilding with younger lineups, which Perlini, 23, is familiar with.
“I’ve been in this situation before in Arizona, where we had some good young guys and I know what to expet that way,” Perlini said. “It was different in Chicago where we had a few young guys and a mix of older guys who had won.
“I’m very familiar with this situation and I’m going to try to fit in right away with the guys and get to know everyone and hopefully it translate onto the ice.”
The fact Perlini — whose family has maintained a residence in the Detroit area since moving to Michigan in 2010 (his brother Brett played for Michigan State then, while Brendan played youth hockey) — is reunited with Larkin makes him smile.
“We grew up together, played together when we were 14 or 15, bantam and midget, it’s funny to almost 10 years later be back at it,” Perlini said. “It’s pretty unreal.”
Blashill believes the fact Perlini has gone through some tough times in the NHL, in terms of trade and not being in lineups, can help him in Detroit.
“When you’ve been through hard experiences, it makes you better in the end, and he recognizes that,” Blashill said. “It’ll be good to get him into some games. I’m not going to be judgmental after one or two games, let’s watch him after a number of games.
“He’s big, fast and he can shoot it.”
Perlini has scored 45 goals in the NHL in 200 career games, so he has proven he can be a respectable goal scorer.
“We think there’s a chance he can still blossom into a real good NHL goal scorer and player,” Blashill said. “His first year in Arizona he had real good number for a young guy and it’s dwindled since. That can happen for numerous reasons. A lot of that is on him and he and I talked about that.
“He has a clean slate here and an opportunity and he has to make the most of it.”
Blashill sees a good fit for Perlini with Hirose and Nielsen, two players who like to pass the puck and should benefit with a shooter like Perlini.
“He likes to shoot and he’s a good skater, and both Nielsen and Hirose are good at setting people up,” coach Jeff Blashill said.
“I’m hoping that’s a real good match and makes another dangerous line for us.”
Larkin wasn’t on the ice for Perlini’s debut practice Thursday, taking what Blashill called “a maintenance day.
“I anticipate Dylan playing tomorrow (Friday),” Blashill said.
Christoffer Ehn took Larkin’s place between Tyler Bertuzzi and Darren Helm at practice.
Blashill intends to keep defenseman Joe Hicketts in the lineup, ahead of Dennis Cholowski. “We’ll stay with Hicketts, he played real well (Tuesday),” Blashill said.
… Justin Abdelkader, who has missed the last three games, should be cleared to play in time for Friday’s game in Carolina. Abdekader was skating on a fourth line with Jacob de la Rose and Adam Erne at practice.
Red Wings at Hurricanes
Faceoff: 7:30 Friday, PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
Outlook: The Hurricanes (8-3-1) are leading off where they ended last season in the playoffs, with a fast start. … They’ve been tough at home (5-1-0). … D Dougie Hamilton (13 points) and RW Andrei Svechnikov (12 points) lead a balanced offensive attack…Former Wings G Petr Mrazek (6-1-1, .917 SVS) has been real good.