ST. LOUIS -- David Perron remembers watching the St. Louis Blues playing the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final last season and thinking he could have helped.
Perron's season had ended with the Anaheim Ducks, who were eliminated by the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference First Round, so the forward became a spectator and pulled for the Blues, who selected him with the 26th pick in the 2007 NHL Draft.
"I can tell you for sure I wanted to be a part of that," Perron said. "I grew up here as a person, I grew up here in my career. I always felt something special about St. Louis. It's the most special city in the League for me right now. That's why I was happy I was able to come back. Talking with [general manager Doug Armstrong] almost every day in that free agent period, I knew I had a real shot at coming back here, and it's great."
Perron signed a two-year, $7.5 million contract (average annual value $3.75 million) on July 1 to return to the place he spent the first six seasons in the League. From 2013-16, he played for the Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Ducks.
Perron was signed to offset the Blues losses in free agency when forwards David Backes and Troy Brouwer, key components in St. Louis' run to the conference final, signed elsewhere.
"He wants to be a difference maker," center Patrik Berglund said of Perron. "He has high expectations and he seems hungry. Obviously that's good to hear."
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Perron, who had 46 points (18 goals, 28 assists) in 82 games, isn't looking to be the centerpiece; he just hopes to be a piece of the puzzle.
"I look at him as a player that can help us win hockey games," coach Mike Yeo said. "He's playing really well without the puck right now. It allows us to play him in important roles, whether it's D-zone shifts, whether it's shifts against top lines.
"On top of that, he has a way of creating offense and creating momentum for your team as far as how he hangs onto the puck, puck strength and ability to find guys and to distribute the puck. He's proven that he can get to the net, get some opportunities around those hard areas, which obviously come playoff time is very important."
Perron, in his 10th season, has been a streaky point producer throughout his career, but has refined his game.
"I think I added stuff, but I also think [the media's] perspective, maybe the fans' perspective changed," Perron said. "When I was younger, I was here before [Vladimir Tarasenko], before [Jaden Schwartz] and yeah, you want to be a first-line player and scoring like [Tarasenko] is, but it doesn't happen for everybody.
"Sometimes perception on someone is so [high], it makes a big difference. I think for me, having gone through other experiences, it builds your character when it doesn't go as well, either with teams or with you individually."