Capitals breakdown: Mathieu Perreault

Capitals breakdown: Mathieu Perreault
June 16, 2013, 8:15 am
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CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2012-13 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Mathieu Perreault

Mathieu Perreault

Position: Center
Shoots: Left
Age: 25
Ht/Wt: 5-10, 180
Games: 39
Goals: 6
Assists: 11
Points: 17
Penalty Minutes: 20
Plus-Minus: Plus-7
Average Ice Time: 11:40
Contract Status: 1 year remaining on 2-year, $2.1 million contract [$1.05 million cap hit in 2013-14]

Strengths: With a lot of hard work and a ton of persistence, Perreault earned the trust from Adam Oates that took him an entire season to earn under Dale Hunter last season. A healthy scratch in six of the Caps’ first 11 games, Perreault earned a spot on the third line between wingers Jason Chimera and Joel Ward and the trio was one of the Caps’ best lines in the playoffs with 11 points in seven games against the Rangers. Perreault produced a goal and three assists in the seven games. He’s also strong on faceoffs, winning 54 percent of them this season.

Weaknesses: Perreault is one of those “tweener” centers. He’s talented enough to get spot duty on the power play, but not enough to carry the load of a second-line center. He’s skilled enough to played on the third line, but lacks the all-around grittiness to shut down a scoring line.

Memorable Moment: After complaining about a lack of playing time at the start of the season and being a healthy scratch under Oates for five straight games in early February, Perreault returned to the lineup and recorded five points in his first three games, highlighted by a three-assist night in a 5-4 win in Tampa on Feb. 14. Perreault set up a power-play goal by Troy Brouwer and a pair of even-strength goals y Eric Fehr.

2012-13 Expectations: Based on his playoff performance against the Rangers, pencil in Perreault as the Caps’ third-line center for the start of the season. That could change, of course, based on how the Caps fill the void of second-line center. If Mike Ribeiro returns, Brooks Laich could begin the season as a second-line left wing or a third-line center, which would impact where Perreault plays. Either way, look for Perreault to get a solid 13 to 14 minutes a game and set his sights on 15 to 20 goals and 30 to 40 points.