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Blues let unrestricted free agent David Perron walk, sign deal with Detroit Red Wings

This one is a genuine head scratcher.

St Louis Blues v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

When it was announced that David Perron would be testing the UFA market, the way that the Blues and journalists covering the team were talking, it sounded like he would be leaving either for a long-term deal or a high cost deal that Doug Armstrong wouldn’t be able to match.

Today, David Perron tested that market and decided to continue the direct route that the Blues have established with the Detroit Red Wings, signing a two-year deal worth $4.75 million. That’s a reasonable term for a player who is 34 years old, and that’s an excellent deal for someone who scored 27 goals last season.

Yes, Perron is a victim of a nearly static salary cap. Yes, he deserved a raise this year, no doubt. That raise that he got from Detroit was $750,000. That’s it. With the short term and the modest raise, odds are good that Doug Armstrong still would have more than enough opportunity to sign the UFAs/RFAs that he will need to at the end of next season when the cap may increase by $2 million depending on revenue. However, the team has a couple albatross contracts that have hindered Armstrong’s ability to sign quality players - namely the last two years of Marco Scandella’s deal that no one else in the league wants to touch.

Perron finished last year with 27 goals and 30 assists; over his last three years with St. Louis, he’s netted 71 goals and 104 assists. Who replaces that production? Who on the free agent market can the Blues sign that will be able to slot in for Perron with $3,637,500 remaining in cap space?

This year is Vladimir Tarasenko’s last on his contract. If he doesn’t get re-signed, the Blues will have to rebuild half of their left side after two seasons.

The team is demonstrably worse without Perron, and fans are waiting to hear the justification for letting him walk to Detroit. Fans are also waiting for Armstrong’s next moves to see how the roster compares this year to last.