By Brad Lee
ItÂ seems like it was just last week that we were hopefulÂ and excitedÂ about seeing the debut of 2007 first-round pick David Perron in a regular season game. Hey wait a second, it was last week. And we're still waiting.
Perron, 19, has spent his first two games in the NHL wearing a tieÂ while watching from the press box. With the home opener Wednesday night, we don't expect the rookie to lace up his formerly white skates and risk getting caught up in all the hoopla.
And of course the next game is the first Friday night game of the year and we don't see Perron getting the call then--too much excitement/liquor in the building that night especially for such a fragile young guy. Next week the Blues play at Chicago, the first division road game. Nope, too risky there, plus there's the ghost of Bill Wirtz to deal with. Oct. 23, the Ducks are here at the DrinkScotch Center. Pronger could hit him harder than a carton of Pall Malls and stunt his growth.
See what we're getting at?
Perron can play in nine games without burning a year off his contract and bringing arbitration/free agency a season closer. We understand that because of his age the only choice besides keeping him on the NHL roster is sending him back to his junior team where he won't have adequate competition or professional training and coaching (minimum age in the AHL is 20). But isn't it a little risky to keep a kid dangling at the bottom of the roster and parked in the press box every night? How legitimate is this nine-game tryout? Shouldn't a 19-year-old be playing as much as possible even if it's against lesser competition? Isn't there a player in Peoria or a free agent who could benefit by being on the NHL roster, practicing with the team and fighting for ice time?
Hopefully the Perron Experiment can get underway shortly and the team makes a decision about him for the season. Otherwise, we're afraid the team will do more harm than good for his development and his chances of being a legitimate contributor on the St. Louis Blues.