Coming into the season, fantasy owners didn't know what to expect from David Perron.
The St. Louis Blues shipped him to the Edmonton Oilers in July, raising questions about his long-term fantasy value. Between his injury history and his new team's string of bottom-10 finishes in the League standings, he was far from a commodity.
In fact, he wasn't drafted on average in Yahoo leagues. But to everyone's surprise, he's been one of the most indispensable players from a fantasy standpoint this season. Somehow, he's still available in more than 50 percent of leagues.
Over a quarter of the way into the 2013-14 season, Perron is in elite company in terms of category coverage. He's one of three players (along with Corey Perry and Dustin Byfuglien) to register 15-plus points, 20-plus penalty minutes, 20-plus hits and 80-plus shots on goal.
What makes this 25-year-old's success all the more impressive is his well-rounded stat line has not come under ideal circumstances. Edmonton has dealt with a plethora of injuries and lineup changes since the start of the season and currently sits in the cellar of the Western Conference standings.
Despite his team's struggles, Perron's fantasy value has not suffered. He has touched on each standard-league category with the exception of rating (minus-2), and Edmonton's young core has benefited from his experience and aggressiveness in power-play situations. Perron sees over three minutes of ice time per game with the man-advantage and is tied for the team lead with six power-play points.
Even his plus-minus total is superior to some of his Oilers teammates who were selected higher than him in fantasy drafts (Taylor Hall, minus-7; Sam Gagner, minus-9, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, minus-10, Nail Yakupov, minus-14).
Perron's season has not been injury-free so far, as he missed four games with a neck injury. But since his return, he has posted six goals and three assists in seven games, including his first career four-point game on Nov. 19.
For anyone who has followed Perron throughout his career, it's clear he has potential to be a premier player in this League. However, he has dealt with concussion issues in the past and never fully hit his stride production-wise. He has reached the 20-goal, 50-point and 150-shot marks before, but has never been able to sustain that level of production over time.
This season, Perron finally seems to be putting it all together, rewarding fantasy owners in the process.
Whether Perron has played on the team's top line with Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle while Hall was injured or manned the third unit alongside Boyd Gordon, he's proven to be the team's most consistent all-round producer. Even if the Oilers continue to shuffle lines moving forward, fantasy owners can count on Perron for help in nearly every major category.
His ownership continues to grow by the day (seven percent over the past three days), so snatch him up in shallow leagues while you still can.
Follow Pete Jensen on Twitter: @NHLJensen
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