With Perron, Blues got a mix of high-end skill and a bit of frustration

News-DemocratJuly 10, 2013 

David Perron arrived in St. Louis with much fanfare, cracking the Blues' NHL roster as a precocious 19-year-old rookie winger back in 2007.

He had been one of the club's first-round picks just a few months earlier and the rebuilding Blues decided to take their new French Canadian forward for a test drive. Perron had 13 goals and 27 points in 62 games that first season, at times running afoul of then-Blues coach Andy Murray during the learning process and at others flashing stickhandling skills most players can only dream about.

"I will miss everything about St. Louis," said Perron, who was traded to Edmonton on Wednesday for 22-year-old winger Magnus Paajarvi and a second-round pick. "It was the first situation that I'd known and the only situation that I'd known. They drafted me and grew me as a player."

Perron hit the 20-goal mark twice and leaves the Blues with 84 goals and 198 points in six seasons. That total includes playing only 10 games in 2010-11 while sidelined by a concussion.

"It's shocking and tough, you never want to leave a situation where you're comfortable and its fun," Perron said of the trade. "When I heard I was going to Edmonton it's obviously a real nice fit for me.

"It's tough to think of the Blues as some team I'm going to play against. It's tough to see that situation change, but I'm looking forward to the skill they have up front in Edmonton."

Perron has three years remaining on a four-year, $15.25 million contract signed in July, 2012. He should be a good fit in the Oilers' high-speed offensive approach surrounded by other young forwards.

"He's just got incredible skill set, a great set of hands," Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish said during a televised team video interview. "He's pretty gritty player too. He'll go to the areas necessary to score goals. On the outside I feel like he's a really good fit for our team and the way that we play."

MacTavish said he thinks Perron's game might flourish in Edmonton.

"There will be more attack opportunities for him, more rush opportunities," MacTavish said. "I think we potentially could be a better fit for his skill set than the team that he comes from."

Perron insisted the Blues and the two-way checking style of coach Ken Hitchcock were not a bad fit for him.

"I do think it's a better fit in Edmonton, but it doesn't mean it was a bad fit here in St. Louis," Perron said. "I think everyone had pretty much bought into the system and I think Hitch is a really good coach. It's two different styles of hockey and that's the way it is.

"I still enjoyed my time in St. Louis and I can only thank all my teammates and fans and everyone for believing in me for six years."

Perron (26th overall in 2007), T.J. Oshie (24th overall in 2005) and Patrik Berglund (25th overall in 2006) were all pushed by the organization as potential stars, but none of the group has hit that lofty status just yet. Oshie has 70 goals and 195 points in 292 games, while Berglund has 92 goals and 188 points in 358 games.

Since assuming GM duties in the summer of 2010, Armstrong has helped engineer the trade of several former Blues first-round picks, including Perron. Former first overall pick Erik Johnson was dealt with Jay McClement and a first-round pick to Colorado in February, 2011 for Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk and a second-round pick that the Blues used on high-end prospect Ty Rattie.

In June, 2010, former first-rounder Lars Eller was traded to Montreal along with Ian Schulz to Montreal for goalie Jaroslav Halak. In the same month, Swedish defenseman David Rundblad, another Blues first-rounder, was shipped to Ottawa for the first-round pick the Blues used on Russian winger Vladimir Tarasenko.

Did Armstrong think that Perron had trouble fitting his high-end skill game into Hitchcock's system?

"I don't believe there's an issue there," Armstrong said. "His first year back from the concussion he scored very well under Ken's system. Last year he didn't produce offensively the way he did before, but that seemed to be a universal thing for our group."

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or on Twitter @NormSanders

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