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Dearly Beloved, We’re Gathered Here Today

David Perron’s numbers are good. Why does signing him feel bad?

St Louis Blues v Anaheim Ducks Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Close your eyes. Turn on your imagination.

It’s the morning of NHL Free Agency. The St. Louis Blues have been shut out of the bidding on John Tavares and Artemi Panarin. A trade for Ryan O’Reilly remains possible but expensive. The natives are restless. The cap space is growing with nowhere to spend it. The team needs scoring. You’re panicked. Desperate. Then suddenly, a life line.

You grab it and feel it in your hands. This life line put up 50 assists last year. No, it can’t play center, but it can create plays. And on a day where the Vancouver Canucks spent a combined $24.8 million on Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel, the life line will pull you in for a mere $16 million commitment.

It’s soft. It’s warm. It whispers to you in French. Your eyes pop open. You’re holding on to David Perron.

Cold sweat. Instant regret.

The St. Louis Blues entered free agency in desperate need of a boost to their offense. That much is undeniable. They also suffered last season from a dearth of right-handed shots. Perron’s departure to Vegas left a hole that was meant to be filled by Robby Fabbri’s return. When Fabbri was injured again, the hole remained open for the year and got deeper, darker, blacker.

David Perron, on paper, checks many boxes for the Blues. David Perron, in flesh and blood, raises eyebrows. Given Perron’s statistics from last season, it raises suspicions that he would agree to a deal at seemingly less than market value before the market has even opened. Perron had a far superior season to ex-teammate James Neal, for example, and Neal reportedly turned down a five year, $25 million extension from the Golden Knights. One wonders if the negotiations resembled a classic Seinfeld scene.

The answer, of course, lies in the things about David Perron that make fans roll their eyes. 50 penalty minutes accompanied those 66 points last season. Perron scored one goal in 15 playoff appearances for Vegas and was a healthy scratch for Game Four of the Stanley Cup Final. For his career, he’s recorded four goals and 23 total points in 57 playoff games.

Perron’s last appearance for the Blues was in their eliminating loss in Nashville in the 2017 playoffs. In that game, he recorded only 7:05 in ice time after taking two minor penalties early in the game and being benched for nearly the full duration of the third period. In a game where the team needed him most, Mike Yeo didn’t trust David Perron enough to allow him to leave the bench.

After a week’s worth of stories and concerns about headline players who don’t seem to have any interest in coming to St. Louis, the Blues have come to an agreement with a player who, while playing 722 career regular season games for five different franchises, has never signed a contract with any other team.

For better or worse, in sickness and in health, David Perron is wedded to St. Louis.

If there are those who object to this union, hold your piece. The time to speak has, apparently, passed.