With David Perron’s All-Star Game nod in mind, it’s important to reflect on how truly drastic this is for the forward. Perron spent his career fighting to play in St. Louis and, with a Stanley Cup win last season, a career-year this season, and now an All-Star nod; it seems he is finally giving back to the city he calls a second-home.
This piece was originally published on 1/11/2020, on page 10 of St. Louis Gametime’s fan-run paper.
A Look Back at David Perron’s Dramatic, St. Louis-Filled Career
David Perron has been the talk of the city for the past few months. After star winger Vladimir Tarasenko fell to long-term injury in October, Perron embraced a newfound front-stage role. For the first time in his career, he is the star of his team and he is loving it. Perron is scoring at a point-per-game pace, with 44 points in 44 games, and shooting at 17.1 percent effectiveness. For his first shot at stardom, Perron is thriving.
Perron was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the 2007 NHL Draft. Only a few months later, Perron made his debut in the NHL. He played a total of 62 games in the 2007-08 season, ultimately scoring 27 points. Luckily, he continued his strong play the following season, when he ranked third among the Blues in scoring with 50 points in 81 games.
It was a terrific start to his career. Perron, along with Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie, was becoming a dominant fixture of a Blues team that was going out with the old and in with the new. He would go on to tally 47 points the following year, seven points in an injury-plagued 2010-11 season that saw him only appear in 10 games, and 42 points in the 2011-12 season despite playing in only 57 games.
Then, the face of the Blues changed quite quickly. Many reports of locker room issues began to circulate during and after the 2012-13 season, as the young Blues lineup, featuring a fairly new head coach, in Ken Hitchcock, and a brand new captain, in David Backes, fought to cope with the NHL spotlight. Many noted that players like Oshie and Perron were boasting an awful lot of cynicism and overall bringing down the team. This seemed to peak in the post-season, where the Blues lost in the first round to the Los Angeles Kings. The ego of a young but successful team was becoming a clear issue. A change was needed to avoid complete disarray in the locker room.
This change came in the form of a Perron deal. The winger, who had so quickly become one of the faces of the Blues, was dealt to the Edmonton Oilers on July 10, 2013. In return, the Blues received Magnus Paajarvi, a second-round pick that would become Ivan Barbashev, and a fourth-round pick that would become Adam Musil. This sparked Perron’s eventual journey across the NHL. After limited time with the Oilers, Edmonton dealt Perron to the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2014-15 season. Perron would quickly be flipped during the 2015-16 season, being traded to the Anaheim Ducks.
A few months after this third trade, though, Perron became an unrestricted free agent and, for the first time in his career, was able to decide his own fate. With that newfound power, he made a very quick and emphatic decision. On the day of free agency opened, July 1, Perron inked a deal to return to the St. Louis Blues. He signed a two-year contract with a $3.75 million deal.
It was a heart-warming return for a player that clearly considered St. Louis to be home. With the patchy end to his first tenure with the Blues, some were skeptical of the homecoming. In an interview with Jose de Jesus Ortiz, of STL Today, on September 16, 2016, head coach Ken Hitchcock shot down these skeptics, though. Hitchcock said, “Now, he’s very secure, down to earth, married with a family… When I’m talking to him now, I’m talking to a man.”
Perron was clearly humbled by the trades and ready to contribute all he had to the city he loved. His return would be fairly short-lived, though. After playing in all 82 games of the 2016-17 season with St. Louis, Perron was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. There, he was placed in a role to succeed and tallied a career-high 66 points in the 2017-18 season.
Following that year, though, he again became a free agent and again chose to return to his home-away-from-home with the power. He signed a four-year, $4 million-per-year deal with St. Louis. This signing held the same sentiment of the last one: a heartwarming homecoming for Perron. This deal had one added sentiment, though. With Perron at 30-years-old at the time of signing, a four-year deal seemed to emphasize that he was finally here to stay. He was given a final chance to shine with St. Louis and did just that, helping the team to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
The Cup win was clearly impactful for Perron. After years of patiently waiting for his chance to truly shine with the team that drafted him, Perron had helped make history. This year, though, the heart-warming return of last year gets a little warmer. Many Blues fans became fairly pessimistic after Tarasenko’s injury, quickly counting out the Blues Stanley Cup opportunities. With his amazing play this year, Perron has kept the Cup hopes alive. In his first true, uninterrupted moment of stardom, with the team he fought his entire career to play for, Perron is playing at an unprecedented level. It’s a true testament to the love he has for St. Louis, and the Blues team.
It’s also a glaring reason why fans did all they could to vote Perron in as the Central Division’s Last Man In for the NHL All-Star Game, which is in Perron’s beloved St. Louis. Voting ended on Friday. They probably already announced who won the vote for each division. Hopefully, Perron got a huge ovation tonight by winning the vote.