This fall, David Perron will be entering his 12th NHL season. It will be his eighth season with the St. Louis Blues. He has signed five NHL contracts in his career, and each of them has been with the Blues. His first contract was his entry level contract, which was signed for three years/$2.75M after Perron was selected 27th overall by the Blues in the 2007 NHL Draft. After his entry contract was up, Perron re-signed with the Blues for two years/$4.3M. After that one was up, he once again re-signed, this time for four years/$15.2M.
Perron had a fresh new contract heading into the 2012-13 season, the season that was shortened to 48 games due to the lockout. Perron put up 25 points (10 G, 15 A) in those 48 games, a nice showing. But the Blues would have their season ended early, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs. Perron failed to score a single goal in the series and only recorded two assists in the six games of the series as a top six forward. As it stood after this playoff series, Perron had scored just two goals in 19 career playoff games with the Blues.
The Blues front office felt a core shakeup was necessary that following offseason, therefore Perron was dealt to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Magnus Paajarvi and a second-round pick. Perron would of course have a then career high in points the following the trade. Perron was then into the third year of his four-year deal. But in January of 2015, Perron was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Perron had a hot start in Pittsburgh but cooled off quickly. Heading into the last year of his contract in the 2015-16 season, Perron would once again be traded, this time to the Anaheim Ducks. Then in the summer of 2016, after losing captain David Backes and key veteran Troy Brouwer to free agency, the Blues would once again sign Perron, this time two years/$7.5M. Perron fared well during the 2016-17 season, nearly notching 50 points. However, Perron would play in all 11 playoff games the Blues played that spring but failed to score a single goal. He also had only one total assist during the playoffs while playing mainly on the Blues second line.
In the offseason last summer, the Vegas Golden Knights were to assemble their new roster via an expansion draft, the first one since 2002. The Blues left Perron, who had one year left on his contract, exposed to possibly be picked. That happened to be his fate as Vegas would select Perron in the draft that night.
Perron, as many of the players in Vegas last season did, had a career year. Perron totaled 66 points (16 G, 50 A) in 70 games played. As he has throughout his career, Perron saw minutes on the Golden Knights’ second and third lines throughout the season. Vegas would make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in their first season, before losing to the Washington Capitals in five games. Perron played in 15 of 20 playoff games for the Golden Knights. Perron would struggle to score once again, netting just one goal but he did put up eight assists to total nine points in the playoffs, a career high. Perron scored his lone goal of the playoffs in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, and he will now be the only player on the Blues roster with a goal in the SCF.
Well here we are once again, Perron, 30, has signed his fifth career NHL contract, once again with the St. Louis Blues. He has played for five NHL teams and yet has never signed a contract with any team besides the Blues. That is pure loyalty. Despite being ridiculed, traded, and exposed in the expansion draft, Perron has never spoke ill of the Blues organization or the city of St. Louis and has once again returned. I, as many other Blues fans, utterly appreciate that. Despite his loyalty to the organization, I still feel as the Blues again signing him is a bit of a questionable decision.
Perron has always been and will likely continue to be a productive player during the regular season. He loves this city and this organization and knows how things are ran inside and out with the St. Louis Blues. Like aforementioned, Perron nearly reached the 50-point plateau in his most recent season with the Blues in 2016-17. His production skyrocketed even more when he went to Vegas. That is all great.
However, there are two big downfalls to Perron’s style of play. For one, he takes far too many ill-advised penalties. Perron has totaled over 50 penalty minutes in every one of his NHL seasons that he has played at least 70 games. These are no fighting penalty minutes either. In the 2016-17 season, Perron had the highest penalty minute total of any forward on the Blues roster other than Ryan Reaves. There is no excuse for this anymore. Perron has spent over a decade in this league and is now in his 30’s and needs to play smarter when it comes to taking penalties.
The more prominent flaw of Perron’s play throughout his career is his playoff production. Perron has played in 57 career playoff games. He has scored just four goals in that span. He has put up 19 assists, totaling 23 points in 57 games. That just needs to be better for a guy who has logged a lot of minutes on the second line of many teams. Perron has played 30 playoff games for the Blues and his numbers are horrific. Just two goals and eight assists. That would be borderline okay if we were speaking of a lowly third or fourth liner, but Perron spent most of his Blues career on the second line, especially in their playoff run two seasons ago.
I am not a big fan of the contract either. Many Vegas players overachieved last numbers and I believe Perron’s numbers were inflated to what they would be on any other team, especially on the Blues. Perron was nearly a point-per-game player in the regular season last year. This means someone was bound to overpay him. The Blues locked Perron up until he is 34 years old and are giving him $4M per season. That is just a gross overpayment for what Perron provides when he is on the Blues roster.
As you can likely tell, I have been fairly critical of Perron during his time here. Like I have said, his loyalty to this team and this city is unparalleled. It is fantastic. However, considering what Perron has provided for this team in the past and assuming it will be similar in the future, I am just not so sure this was a great business move for Doug Armstrong and the Blues. I would love for David Perron to have an outstanding few seasons and for me to be sitting here in a year or two eating crow about what I said about him. But for the time being, I do not see this move panning out well for the Blues.