If we are all honest with ourselves, there were very few people that were actually excited about the St. Louis Blues bringing back David Perron. It is fine to admit when you are wrong as well.
When the St. Louis Blues brought back David Perron, there were collective head scratches and groans. He ended up being one of the more pleasant surprises of the 2016-17 season.
The Blues had plenty of reason to get rid of Perron when they did. While the reaction among fans was mixed, Perron needed to move on for both his sake and the team’s.
He was skilled and quick, but he held on to the puck too long and made careless errors and selfish plays. The Blues had groomed him long enough and he needed to see what life was like elsewhere to really blossom.
You could argue whether that actually happened or not. He had his career year in Edmonton the very following season after being dealt there.
28 goals and 57 points remains his career highs. However, Edmonton was in the midst of its long rebuilding phase and he only lasted 38 games there the following year.
Perron rebounded a little bit with Pittsburgh, scoring 12 goals to end that season. Then the same thing occured, where a slow start ruined his time with the Penguins, but he found second life (or third at this point) with Anaheim.
The Ducks did not have him in their long term plans, however, and that became an avenue for redemption with the Blues. Surprisingly, it was the coach that got rid of him (Ken Hitchcock) that brought him back.
What was shocking about it was that Perron was not that different of a player. He was still offensive minded and not that great at defense, which was something Hitchcock prized.
Perron had grown enough, though, to make his impact felt. He had become more of an all-around player.
Perron won more faceoffs and had a better percentage winger, than any other time in his career. He threw more hits than any other season he suited up for the Blues.
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Perron had a career high in blocked shots and only fell four shy of tying his career best for takeaways. His turnovers were lessened too as he kept that to a new low as a member of the Blues.
While his numbers for goals and assists were not gaudy, they got the job done. They were certainly higher than most people were giving him credit for.
Most people would have been happy with anything in the double digits for goals and anything higher than 20 points for the French-Canadian. He surpassed all of that.
He did get moved up and down the lineup, but Perron mostly featured in third-line minutes in terms of average. With that in mind, 18 goals and 46 points are pretty impressive.
No, those totals are not going to blow anyone’s socks off, but given what the expectations were, it was a good showing.
Sadly, Perron’s grade cannot be higher because of his playoff performance or lack thereof. Perron was a ghost in the second season and that was when the team needed him most.
Some people will say that should have brought his grade down more, but when you look over the course of his career, we should have expected it. Yes, Perron surprised plenty of people with a bounce-back season with the Blues, but he’s never performed in the playoffs.
Three goals and 14 points in 42 career playoff games just is not cutting it. You could argue the Blues were not performing as a team in those early days, but it all falls on Perron now.
He failed to do much of what made him successful during the season. He was not driving to the net, he was not creating space and he was not finding ways to set up teammates either.
It was almost as though Hitchcock was still in his ear, because Perron became more of a penalty killer in the playoffs than someone you expected to do anything offensively. That’s great to become a more well rounded players, but the team needed his offense.
With the Blues struggling to find the back of the goal, even during wins, they needed Perron and Patrik Berglund to step up. Instead, they rescinded into the shadows.
What the future holds for Perron is unkown. He is still young enough to have plenty of time ahead of him.
Whether that will be with the Blues or not remains to be seen. He needs to get through the expansion draft and then have another good season.
If that happens, maybe he gets a new contract. At this stage of the game, he could continue to be a solid third line guy not breaking the bank or he could go the other way. It’s up to him how he wants to end his time in St. Louis.