David Perron, Core of the St. Louis Blues or Trade Bait?


Mar 3, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing David Perron (57) celebrates a goal against Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (not pictured) during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues have had their fair share of trade rumors this season.  They have been linked to the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers (more than once), but nothing has come of it as of yet.  Most trade rumors circulate around players set to become free agents and yesterday we highlighted who the St. Louis Blues may be willing to part with.  Despite the rumors that have been talked about this season, St. Louis Blues fans seems to have their eyes set on David Perron as the key to a St. Louis Blues trade, but why?

So far in his career, since entering the league in 2007-08, David Perron has played 313 games, scoring 81 goals and 106 assists for a total of 187 points.  At that pace Perron has netted 0.60 points-per-game and 0.26 goals-per-game throughout the span of his career.  This season his numbers have been higher than his career averages with 0.67 points-per-game 0.33 goals-per-game.  While that may not be the league best, Perron is well worth the money we pay him.

When Perron entered the league, he signed an entry level deal for $875,000 for the first three seasons.  That contract also included $130,000 of possible performance bonuses.  In those first three season Perron played in 225 games and netted 124 points.  His impressive play as a youngster in the NHL earned him a two-year contract worth $4.3 million split as $1.8 million in the first year and $2.5 million in the second year.  Unfortunately for Perron, the first year of that contract (2010-11) resulted in a major concussion suffered at the hands of Joe Thornton and limited Perron to just 10 games played.  Perron would not rejoin the St. Louis Blues until well into the 2011-12 campaign last season which saw him play in 57 games.  Although he played just 57 games, Perron managed to score 21 goals and 21 assists for 42 points.

Doug Armstrong again rewarded Perron in the offseason with a four year contract worth $15.25 million.  With the new four year deal the Blues have Perron locked up through the 2015-16 season at which time he would become an unrestricted free agent.  This season Perron is set to make $3 million, next season $3.5 million, then $4.25 million, and $4.5 million in the final season.  Those numbers mean that Perron carries just a $3,812,500 cap hit through the length of his contract.

While St. Louis Blues fans have seen Perron’s play this year as off and on, their major concern is that Perron is hogging the puck and unwilling to pass in key situations.  After the loss at home to the Chicago Blackhawks Perron had this to say,

"I like the way I worked most of the game, but I didn’t like the way I turned the puck over.  I turned the puck over a couple of times and that’s something we can’t have on our team.  It’s something that the way our our system is, you’ve got to funnel the puck to get it back and shoot it on net as much as you can. I think the two times I did turn it over I could have shot it on net instead. I guess when you’re trying to look for offense, it’s tough…but you’ve just got to keep following the program."

Feb 19, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing David Perron (57) handles the puck against the San Jose Sharks in the third period at the Scottrade Center. San Jose defeated St. Louis 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The major issue with David Perron this season might not be his play at all, but rather his issue with Ken Hitchcock’s system.  Perron has incredible hands and has the potential to be a 30-30 player every season if he can stay healthy, possibly even better.  If Perron can’t find a solid role on the St. Louis Blues than perhaps it would be best to move the still developing winger.  The main issue is what the return would be.

With a huge offseason coming for the St. Louis Blues, GM Doug Armstrong will not be willing to take on salary unless the move truly improves the team both now and in the future.  With Perron’s low salary it would be silly to part with him for the amount of production that he is capable of and has been contributing.  So many fans are willing to ship Perron off in hopes that we will get a good return and be a better team.  What they may not be considering is that the return will be more expensive.  Armstrong is going to have to focus on salary a lot this season to ensure that he can lock up both Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk.  Then consider that Chris Stewart, Patrik Berglund, and Ian Cole will all need new contracts.  The St. Louis Blues will also have to decide if they want to keep Matt D’Agostini and Kris Russell who will also be restricted free agents.  Jamie Langenbrunner, Wade Redden, Andy McDonald, Scott Nichol, Chris Porter, Andrew Murray, and Adam Cracknell will also be up for new contracts and are unrestricted free agents.  You have to think of the latter group that perhaps only Nichol, McDonald, and Porter may be offered contracts, but still salary has to remain to secure these or new players.

Whether or not GM Doug Armstrong and the St. Louis Blues want to part with Perron, Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal seems to think that the St. Louis Blues will use Perron as trade bait.

So the question remains, with the production and price of Perron, is it in the St. Louis Blues best interest to move him?  If so, who would you trade him for?  Have you considered their cap hit and longevity?  Let us know in the comments below.


-Alex Hodschayan