Tomorrow, the Las Vegas Golden Knights will select one player from each NHL team in the Expansion Draft. When the St. Louis Blues list was revealed this past weekend, Ryan Reaves was protected instead of journeyman winger, David Perron. Some fans liked it, others loathed it, and there were some Switzy placeholders on the matter.
I love it, and here is why: Reaves is more important to the Blues’ future than Perron, a guy who can score 15-20 goals in the regular season, but checks out in the playoffs when the scoring is most needed.
When Las Vegas scoops up Perron this week to stick him on their second line or flip him for a younger player elsewhere, the Blues’ fourth line will remain intact, and Perron’s 18 goals can be easily scooped up by Kenny Agostino or Robby Fabbri next season. It will be like a stale order of French fries from McDonald’s getting tossed in the trash instead of digested only for the body to churn them out later in an unlawful fashion. Skip it and wave goodbye.
People still think Reaves takes bad penalties, but Perron leads the NHL in boneheaded ill-timed minors on a sheet of ice. He gets stupid in a close game, and dooms the entire operations. He’s like John Turturro in Miller’s Crossing: you’re waiting the entire flick for him to be clipped.
How about salary? It would be a lovely sight to see Perron’s 3.7 million dollars head out of town, while the economical 1.125 million dollar price tag on Reaves shines like a brand new penny in October. The Blues need all the salary cap space they can find in trying to find a top center to make Vladimir Tarasenko’s life better, and no his name isn’t Jori or Paul.
But Reaves only plays six minutes a game? Wrong again. The large-bodied winger played closer to ten minutes towards the end of the season, and was on the ice in a playoff game against Nashville for over 12 minutes. Perron offered a single assist in 11 playoff games. ONE point from the 29 year old Frenchman.
Here’s the real bill of goods: Reaves changed his game and worked his ass off to improve before the 2016-17 season, increasing his speed on the ice, and his puck handling. In addition to the 239 hits dished out on the ice, Reaves scored a career high seven goals to go with six assists. He had eleven takeaways and only four giveaways, and his penalty minutes hung lower than usual at 104 in 80 games.
Having Reaves provides the Blues with their only real size on the roster, and it helps that he can play a little these days. Back in 2012-13, Reaves got into 13 fights, but didn’t offer much else to the Blues, scoring by luck or stuffing a puck into the net. This past season, Reaves offered six fights, double the aggression, and was simply a smarter player on the ice.
Let’s be honest, the Blues need a guy like Reaves to climb onto the ice, immediately putting the other team on notice for having their ass handed to them. He doesn’t just hit the other guy; he runs them the fuck over. He is feared on the ice, and is the only Blue who can police opposing players out there. If Pittsburgh had Reaves, Sidney Crosby may not have six concussions during his career (not that anyone in Pitt is complaining right now, or ever).
So, I won’t shed a tear for a disposable third line winger departing for the desert. I’ll take the improved play and cheaper asset in Reaves over the stalled value of Perron.
No one is going to scream when the Blues walk into the playoffs next year, and don’t have Perron’s 14 career playoff points in 42 games. He goes missing, like a certain former Blue named T.J. did during his playoff years in St. Louis.
At the end of it all, Reaves doesn’t steal a spot from a young Blues player. Perron would be holding a spot destined for a younger Blue that is part of their future. He was expendable, and could leave the team nearly four million dollars lighter.
It’s not the most popular opinion, but I’ll take Ryan Reaves over David Perron every day of the week.