On July 10, 2013, the St. Louis Blues traded away David Perron. He went to the Oilers, in exchange for Magnus Paajarvi and a 2014 second round pick that ended up becoming Ivan Barbashev. At the time, Perron was a 25-year-old goal scorer who had 341 games with the Blues under his belt. He tallied 84 goals in that six-year span alone and ended up with 198 points total.
That’s why the trade was so surprising for a lot of fans, and even journalists. Perron was clearly one of the biggest contributors to the Blues offense, placing in the top five point scorers multiple times in his first six seasons.
An Update on the David Perron Saga
The 26 overall pick in 2007, Perron came into the league with high expectations. That made the trade all more surprising. As much as Blues beat writers tried to argue it, there was one main reason that Perron got traded: his attitude. While the trade did free up almost $4 million in cap space, which went towards re-signing the expiring Alex Pietrangelo and Chris Stewart, it wasn’t the reasoning for the trade.
During an era of high scoring, the Blues had a relatively impressive top 12 forwards. Alongside Perron, David Backes, Alex Steen, and T.J. Oshie were all putting up high numbers. Kevin Shattenkirk and Pietrangelo were just starting to show their ability to score 50 points in a season, and players like Jason Arnott were ending their careers with a bang. Needless to say, the Blues didn’t have much to worry about when it came to scoring. Because of their consistency, the Blues did their best to just play with the flow of the game; instead of following a strict playbook. Unfortunately, this led Perron to become too independent. His arrogance reflected in his play, and supposedly in the locker room. Many reports say that is the reason that Perron left the Blues in 2013, and it makes sense.
After leaving the Blues, Perron played in 116 games as an Oiler. He was still fairly consistent and reliable, but not like he was starting to be in St. Louis. He ended up with 76 points in Edmonton, with 33 being goals. That’s when Perron started a whirlwind of moving around.
38 games into the 2014-15 season, Perron was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Rob Klinkhammer and a first-round pick in 2015. The Oilers then used that first round pick to acquire Griffin Reinhart from the New York Islanders, also including a second round pick in that year.
Perron played in 86 regular season games as a Penguin. 43 of those games came in 2014-15, the other 43 coming in 2015-16. Perron registered a total of 38 points in that stretch, which wasn’t enough to keep him around in the eyes of the Penguins. They traded him to Anaheim, along with Adam Clendening, in exchange for Carl Hagelin.
Perron went to Anaheim to finish off his contract, becoming a UFA at the end of the season. He spent 28 games in the Ducks jersey and had an impressive 20 points. He also had three points in seven playoff games at the end of that season.
Perron entered free agency that offseason with a few teams interested in him. Amongst those teams were supposedly the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals. It seemed that one of these teams, or one of the many others interested in him, were guaranteed to sign him.
That was until the Blues signed him on the first day of free agency. Looking at the holes that the team needed to fill, after losing top six forward Troy Brouwer, it was assumed that the team would be interested in another forward when free agency came around. Still, it surprised a lot of people when the Blues decided to bring Perron back to the Gateway City. This caused a little bit of controversy amongst Blues fans, who were ’iffy’ on bringing back someone who had locker room issues prior to leaving the team. Still, Perron’s success in Anaheim was enough to make most people support the decision.
Back With the Blues
Perron showed a lot better attitude back with the team. Since leaving he became a father and a husband, and those changes seemed to affect his personality a lot. Even coach Ken Hitchcock, who coached Perron for two seasons before the trade, noted the difference. “Now, he’s very secure, down to earth, married with a family,” commented the coach. “When I’m talking to him now, I’m talking to a man.” Considering Perron’s biggest problem was his attitude, the change was very important. Now, all he was expected to do was to produce like he used to.
The Blues season is now over and they’re headed to the playoffs. During the regular season, Perron received top forward minutes, just under 17 and a half a game. He played alongside the centerman he played with before his leave of absence, Patrik Berglund, virtually all season. The two have both had good seasons, and given the team’s bottom six a lot of strength.
Perron looked like he didn’t change much. He was still a very strong offensive player, with impressive skating and puck handling skills; but adding more hockey awareness, and playmaking abilities. The new additions make him even more lethal of a forward. He was also a consistent player in the Blues lineup, playing in all 82 games. This was something that the Blues desperately needed, considering the only other forwards to play all 82 games were Vladimir Tarasenko and Berglund.
Perron didn’t put up any career highs during his first season back, but his numbers were still impressive. He had 46 points on the year, 18 goals and 28 assists. Perron did a lot more than put up points for the Blues though. His puck handling and speed made his game very fluid, and he bound together the lines that he was placed on. Overall, he had a very high work ethic and it had an effect on the rest of the team. He proved his ability to still be a strong second line player, while also being able to lead by example.
David Perron was one of the best forwards for the Blues this year, despite ranking fifth on the team in points. He influenced the team through simple hard work and skill. The team is hoping he can carry this into the postseason. Judging by game one, he is going to. He showed every strength of his game but finished with no points on the game. Still, he could be a big factor for the team in the first round, provided he’s able to score.
Future With St. Louis
Perron has one year left on his contract and is a $3.75 million cap hit. He’s relatively expensive, but if he can play the same way next season he’s worth the money. Perron will be looming on 30 by the time he signs again, which may mean he will come as a bit cheaper. With players like Ivan Barbashev, Jordan Kyrou, and Tage Thompson starting to climb the ranks, the Blues will want someone like Perron to help mold them.
The team will probably re-sign Perron to another two or three-year contract at the end of next season. Assuming he plays until he’s 35 or more; he’ll need one more contract to get him to retirement. That’s where it’s unsure who he’ll sign with. With all the prospects that should be NHL material soon, and the decline that players go through when their 30, it’s likely that Perron will be bottom six forward if he ends his career with the Blues. If he isn’t able to keep up his production numbers, he could see his career ending with yet another new team. It’s all speculation for now though. What’s for sure is that Perron was a key forward for the Blues this year and will continue to be for a while.