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DETROIT – Amid the highs and lows that came with pushing for a Stanley Cup Playoffs spot down the stretch of the 2023-24 season, the direction of the Detroit Red Wings has David Perron encouraged about the club’s future.

“I think the first thing that comes up is the improvement in so many ways and how proud I am of a lot of the guys in the room, especially the young guys,” Perron said in his end-of-season media session on April 18. “To see their development and attitude evolving in the way we need to go moving forward, it’s just natural progression.”

Since signing a two-year free-agent deal with Detroit in July 2022, Perron has stressed the importance of continuous development to the Red Wings’ younger players. And they’ve listened, because they know the 35-year-old forward has 17 years of NHL experience.

David Perron | End of Season Media Availability

“This guy’s been around for a long time,” Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman said about Perron on April 19. “He’s a Stanley Cup champion and can handle the pressure. He actually thrives on it. He loves the challenge and a tremendous leader. I see that on the ice. He’s a take-charge guy and the moment’s not too big for him.”

After finishing the 2022-23 campaign with 56 points (24 goals, 32 assists) in 82 games, Perron earned 47 points (17 goals, 30 assists) in 76 games this season.

“On a personal level, it was a little bit of a tougher start,” Perron said about his second season in Detroit.  “I was glad to elevate my game in the later part of the season. Again, I think a lot of guys did that and it was good to see.”

Perron said his teammates built on their already-strong relationships with the coaching staff this season, adding a layer of comfortability he believes benefitted the Red Wings on and off the ice.

“It’s pretty incredible just the two years I’ve been here, I feel we’ve made so many steps forward in many regards,” Perron said. “Newsy (Derek Lalonde) was definitely a lot more comfortable with things behind the bench. Our leadership group, we’re pushing and trying to get better as well.”

Looking ahead, Perron said securing a playoff berth will not get any easier for Detroit next season.

“I think it gets harder, honestly,” Perron said. “You’ve got teams on the outside now that are young that are promising, really good teams that were supposed to be ahead of us (in the standings). Not that I disagreed, but I guess I did to a point. I think they’ll be right back in the picture trying to push us down.”

Fortunately, Perron said he believes the Red Wings are capable of handling that challenge.

“We were right there,” Perron said. “I thought March was a very disappointing month, but you have to look back a little bit sooner. I felt like we grabbed it at certain times of the year.

“We have to be a little bit more consistent in our team game. We talked about team aspect in the later part of the season. We have to remember that every point matters because it literally does. I think that’s also the exciting part.”

Perron, who is slated for unrestricted free agency this summer, said the Red Wings fed off the fans’ energy this season.

"(Little Caesars Arena) was the best this year,” Perron said. “Every single comeback we had, there was a reason why we had them. We felt the support. (The fans) were incredible, the city in general."