When the knock came, Cole Perfetti already knew exactly what it meant.

It’s a sound many talented players heard before him, but that didn’t make it any easier to hear.

The date was Dec. 12, 2019 and Canada’s world junior roster had just been trimmed by nine players.

Perfetti was one of them and this was foreign territory for him -- as he’d never been cut before.

“I remember being in the hotel room and I got a knock on the door and my stomach immediately dropped,” Perfetti said on a Zoom call with reporters Monday. “It’s a tough feeling going to the room knowing that you’re about to get released from the team. It was the worst minute of my life.”

Contrast that sinking feeling with what Perfetti was experiencing Monday, when he officially put pen to paper on his first NHL contract, a three-year, entry-level deal with the Jets.