After spending his entire NHL career to date with the St. Louis Blues, left-winger David Perron is embracing the opportunity to come to Edmonton after the Oilers acquired him on Wednesday in exchange for fellow winger Magnus Paajarvi and a 2014 second-round draft pick.
Perron, a native of Sherbrooke, Que., was in Montreal today when he got the call from Blues GM Doug Armstrong informing him he'd been dealt to Edmonton. The 25-year-old said he originally heard his name as part of trade talks during the 2013 NHL Draft in New Jersey, and shared plenty of enthusiasm about his future with the Oilers.
"Right away you're in shock a little bit and don't know what to think, but I'm looking forward to the fresh start," Perron said. "I'm excited to be joining such a young team with a lot of skill, and I think my game is going to fit in Edmonton. The passion the fans have for the game is something I'm really looking forward to. Hopefully I can come in and do my part."
Oilers GM Craig MacTavish couldn't agree more, saying Perron fits the style of hockey he wants his team to play.
"We gain a guy who has top-six experience and a guy we feel, given the way we want to play the game this year, will be a real good fit for us," MacTavish said. "He's got an incredible skill-set, a great set of hands, and he's a pretty gritty player as well. He'll go to the areas necessary to score goals and has, potentially, one of the best sets of hands in the League."
As a rookie with Lewiston in the QMJHL in 2006-07, Perron led all first-year players in goal-scoring with 39, finishing the season with 83 points in 70 games and prompting the Blues to select him 26th overall at the 2007 Draft.
He immediately made the jump to the NHL and has tallied 189 points in 340 regular season games, adding nine more in 19 playoff contests. Perron posted 20 goals in 2009-10 and tallied 21 in 2011-12 despite only playing 57 games. He put up 25 points in all 48 regular season games with the Blues this past year, chipping in with a pair of playoff assists.
Not long after getting off the phone with his former GM on Wednesday, Perron chatted with his new bosses, MacTavish and Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe.
"I was really excited to talk to them," he said. "They told me how excited they were to have me on their team, and it was the same for me. Playing against (the Oilers) the past few years, I could tell they are going in the right direction. The hockey is so exciting. It's fun to watch their games. There are so many weapons on the team, it's going to be nice to a part of it."
At 6'0" and 205 pounds, Perron brings a solid physical frame to Edmonton, which he said he hopes to use to create some space for his teammates up front.
"I'm going to try to add on to what they're trying to do, and put some points on the board," he said. "But I also want to create some havoc and draw some penalties. I'm no Milan Lucic, but I'm going to try to finish my checks every time I have the chance. I think forechecking is one of my best skills. It was something I did a lot in St. Louis, and I got good at it."
Though the right-shooting Perron has played both left and right wing, MacTavish said he will almost certainly play on the left side among the Oilers top six forwards, since Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov are slotted in on the right side. The GM added Perron has experience killing penalties as well.
With this latest acquisition, MacTavish said he is becoming increasingly pleased with the way the Oilers roster is taking shape this off-season.
"When I look at our roster, I'm starting to get pretty excited by what I see and the skill level that we have," he said. "We're going to be able to make plays. We're going to be able to score goals. What's incumbent on us now is our ability to collectively defend much better than we have and reduce the number of shots against."
Is the GM done making moves this summer, though?
"We're always open for business," MacTavish said. "I'm a new guy in this position, so I'll be available 24-7 to try and continue to improve our group."