GREENVILLE, S.C. — The Greenville Swamp Rabbits' offense received a major boost. The team has come to agreement on terms of a Standard Player Contract with 10-year pro Nathan Perkovich. The veteran forward has played at the AHL and ECHL levels in North America, as well as the KHL, Russia's top professional league, and the EBEL, the top professional league in Austria.
Across each of those leagues, the 33-year-old forward has taken part in 440 pro contests, has scored 80 goals and 81 assists. Last season, split between Croatia's Medveščak Zagreb and the ECHL's Florida Everblades, Perkovich had a standout season. He posted 22 goals and 12 assists, and finished a +14. He showed a penchant for being clutch, having finished second on the 'Blades with five game-winning goals. On a completely stacked Everblades club, Perkovich ranked sixth in scoring (34 points), fifth in goals (22), second in power play goals (5) and tops in shootout goals (3).
Perkovich was tasked to be a set-up man during Florida's run to the Eastern Conference Final against Newfoundland. In 14 playoff games, he scored a goal and added seven assists.
Prior to last season, the 6-foot-5, 216 pound Perkovich had spent the last seven seasons with Zagreb—many of those games played at the KHL level. He was named captain of the club during the 2017–18 season, and kept that role into 2018–19, but left for North America seven games into the season.
While it took some time for Perkovich to acclimate to junior hockey out of Detroit Catholic Central High School, where he won two state titles, the lessons learned under legendary head coach Mark Carlson with the USHL's Cedar Rapids RoughRiders took hold. After the 2003–04 season in Iowa, the New Jersey Devils drafted him in the eighth round, 250th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
After two seasons with the Chicago Steel, his last being the most productive on his club, he moved to the college ranks with Lake Superior State University.
At Lake State, the Croatian-American forward had a storied career. He led the Lakers in goals as a freshman (15) and a sophomore (17). He shared possession of the Soo Blueliners Most Outstanding Freshman award with teammate Simon Gysbers, and his 25 points as a sophomore gave him sole possession of team MVP.
Overall, he scored 44 goals and 27 assists in three seasons at Lake Superior State University.
His first assignment in pro hockey following his junior year at Lake State was to the Lowell Devils. He spent 161 games at the AHL level before making the jump across the pond to play in Croatia.
Perkovich has routinely represented Croatia in the World Championships. His latest time doing so, following the 2016–17 season, he served as alternate captain of the squad.
The following players are now under contract for the 2019–20 season:
F - Michael Pelech (29)
F - Johno May (25)
F - Travis Howe (25)
F - Kamerin Nault (23)
F - Mason Baptista (29)
F - Roman Ammirato (26)
F - Daniel Perez (25)
F - Nathan Perkovich (33)
D - J.C. Brassard (23)
D - Luke Ripley (25)
D - Adam Larkin (24)
More signings will take place throughout the offseason, so stay tuned to the Swamp Rabbits on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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