When the Edmonton Oilers traded Magnus Paajarvi and a 2nd round draft pick to St. Louis for David Perron in the off-season, the question wasn’t whether or not the Oilers would win this trade in the short term, but by how much they’d win it. The Blues needed to free up some money to sign Alex Pietrangelo and Chris Stewart, who were both still RFA at the time, and Perron was something of a cap casualty in a deal that St. Louis will hope balances out in the future if they can make that pick count.
In the meantime, Paajarvi has struggled to find a role for Ken Hitchcock as he did for coaches before, while Perron is in the conversation for best, and most consistent, Oilers forward so far in this young season. With 8 goals and 10 assists, he’s 2nd on team point scoring (tied with Eberle for the team lead in goals) and has only twice gone back-to-back games without a point.
I appreciate a lot of things about Perron’s offensive game, mostly that he’s a very complete player who is seemingly equally capable of setting up and finishing goals. Skill aside, I think he sets an excellent example with how frequently he shoots the puck. With 80 shots on goal, Perron averages 4 per game, and leads the team in this category. We’ve seen him score multiple goals from very sharp angles on plays that should be on the highlight reel for the old cliché “just shoot the puck”.
He’s also versatile. He’s played both left wing and right wing and, some nights, been part of a trio that Dallas Eakins has described as playing a “shut down” role. Heck, to hear Eakins tell it, he spent time on the bench in a recent game contemplating putting Perron on defense when he didn’t like the puck movement from his back end.
But, perhaps most importantly, he’s absolutely no fun to play against. When you watch David Perron play, there’s no mistaking the fact that he gets under the skin of his opponent.
He’s good at it (really, really good at it) and he seems to legitimately revel in doing it.
The headline in the Edmonton Sun the other day read: “David Perron the kind of jerk the Oilers have needed for a long time”. For anybody outside of Edmonton, trust me, that’s a huge compliment.
All it takes is that subtle little poke on the chest protector of an opposition goaltender, or that love tap to the calf of a defenseman after the whistle, and Perron creates the emotional distraction he’s looking for. I’m not on the ice, but word is that he does an OK job talking his way into some reactions, too.
Perron isn’t likely to land any upper cuts, but he’s a master of the jab, and that’s a welcome influence.
*Magnus Paajarvi has 1 point in 7 games in St. Louis. He’s spent the bulk of his time as a healthy scratch and out with injury.
*Andrew Ference doesn’t take no for an answer. Lee Stempniak and Scottie Upshall will testify.
*Nail Yakupov has 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 6 games and looks like a completely different player.
*Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has 5 points in his last 2 games, but watching him back-check is what I appreciate most. He strips a lot of pucks with a simple stick-check that’s the product of nothing more than hard work.
*I think Bill Clinton was President the last time that Boyd Gordon lost a draw.
*Devan Dubnyk has a .948 SV% in his last 5 games. He was above .900 in just 3 of 12 starts prior.
*From Elias Sports Bureau, via ESPN.com: The Oilers extended their winning streak to a season-high three games with a 4-1 victory against the Panthers, though Edmonton's streak of consecutive goals scored without one in reply by its opponents came to an end at 14 when Florida scored late in the second period to cut the Oilers' lead to 3-1. The Oilers' run of 14 unanswered goals tied a franchise record set Nov. 6-8, 1985, when they scored the last goal in a 4-4 tie at Los Angeles and then beat the Canucks, 13-0, in Edmonton.