ST. LOUIS - David Perron has spent the majority of his NHL career as a member of the St. Louis Blues, and that might come as a surprise since he's been away for the last three years.
Since being traded to Edmonton after the 2012-13 season, Perron has also played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Anaheim Ducks.
On July 1, Perron signed a two-year, $7.5 million deal to return to St. Louis, where it all began. Some things have changed, while some have stayed the same.
We caught up with Perron at the start of training camp to find out what's new. Below is our full Q&A.
BLUES: First of all, it's good to see you again. What does it feel like to be returning to St. Louis where it all started?
PERRON: It feels natural be here. I was here six years and I was only gone for three seasons. It's nice to be back, just driving around town and seeing familiar faces. In that regard, it's still the same. Same management, same head coach. I played with six or seven of these guys, and then there are other guys I played with in other organizations like Robert Bortuzzo. It's nice, for sure.
BLUES: It's probably great coming to a city that you're already familiar with. You don't need anyone to show you how to get to the practice rink or to Scottrade Center or even help you find a place to live.
PERRON: Yeah… and even the practices are still very similar to what I'm used to with Hitch. Right now, there are still a lot of guys at the World Cup, so I can even be a leader as far as going first in line and showing the younger guys how to do their drills. It's nice.
BLUES: How is David Perron different from the one we last saw in the 2012-13 season. We understand that you're a dad now!
PERRON: I'm three years older, that's the biggest thing, and I've got more experience in life. I have a kid, Mason, who is 14 months old, and that definitely changes your life in a good way. Your summers are different because you spend more time with your family. Right now, I get up early and I play with him before practice, and then I can come home and spend some time with him after practice when he wakes up from his afternoon nap. Days are flying by, and we're lucky we get to spend a lot of time with our family in the summers. Every day, he's doing something new and it's nice to see.
BLUES: Fourteen months. Mason ought to be lacing up the skates pretty soon.
PERRON: He's already crawling around with hockey sticks in his hands. If there's a ruler on the floor in the house, he picks it up and plays like it's a hockey stick. He sees me play in the summer, and coming to games, he's going to get a good feel for what hockey is. Certainly if I can influence him a little bit to love the game, that would be nice for me. It'd be awesome to see.
BLUES: Since you were traded to Edmonton, you've played with some big-time skill players. Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh and even Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in Anaheim. What do you learn from playing with those guys?
PERRON: You learn something different from all of them. Those guys in Edmonton played with a lot of speed and skill. Playing with Crosby, it's pretty similar, but you see how much time he puts into his game to be a good player. Getzlaf, that guy is another world-class player that plays differently than the others. He grinds it out, it's all about puck-possession. For me, for my style of game, it was a good fit in that regard. That's the guy I learned the most from - how he showed me to be patient with the puck and never panic. If you make mistakes, just turn the page and keep going, because if you stop playing, the coaches aren't going to play you. He wasn't afraid to make mistakes, but he was certainly making a lot of good plays out there.
BLUES: We know you as a skilled offensive player with great hands. Do you feel like your game has evolved a lot since then?
PERRON: I think I'm more well-rounded. When I first got here, I think people thought I would be just an offensive guy only, that I'd score goals and that's all I did. But that wasn't true. You want to be an offensive guy, but you want to do the best job you can to get the most ice time possible and score some goals, but I think you learn pretty quick at the NHL level that you have to play both sides of the game. Even when I went to Edmonton, I was leaned on a bit more in that regard because of how many guys they had that were younger and maybe had the mentality I had before. I kept evolving, and playing with Getzlaf, it didn't matter if it was a minute that we needed a goal or that we needed to not get scored on, they would put my line on the ice. I grew a lot of confidence there and I think I was impacting the game every night. Whether you play 12 minutes or 22 minutes a night, you have to feel like you're making a difference out there.
BLUES: What are your expectations entering a new season with the Blues?
PERRON: For myself, I just want to join the group and make it a seamless transition as far as how much success they had last year. I want to be a teammate where guys feel when I'm on the ice, I can make a difference. I won't put any numbers or stats out there, because that depends on a lot of things. But for me, it's to have success on the power play, have success on the team and everything else will fall into place. That's my biggest goal. The team had a lot of success last year and you want to join the group and you don't want people to realize there wasn't that many changes. Just keep growing as an organization.