David Perron may not be a superstar, but over the years he has developed into a gritty, in-your-face NHL forward. A few years ago, he suffered a season ending concussion, but since he’s been virtually injury free. Best of all, he became an Edmonton Oiler this past season. After a trade with the St. Louis Blues, Perron arrived here in exchange for Top 10 draft pick Magnus Paajarvi and a second round pick. It was a trade Edmonton definitely won.
Perron followed the trade with a career high 28 goals and 57 points. Oiler fans fell immediately in love with him, and they should have. He was one of the few players who had enough tenacity to antagonize other players. Perron realizes something other players take longer to understand; hockey is as much a mental game as it is physical.
In some ways, that is a part of the reason there has been an extended period of losing in Edmonton. The players are not fully engaged physically as of yet, but they are failing to engage with their minds as well. That is why Perron and Taylor Hall had as much success as they did.
Clearly, Perron has nothing to worry about when it comes to his role on the Oilers next season. He will have a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. Along with finesse scorers. he will hopefully be supported by a new center with some size, who will cut a swath through the top six. It might be Sam Bennett or Leon Draisaitl, maybe a more established vet who gets pawned away for something more. Regardless, Perron will look to build on a great season.
We should also be prepared for the possibility of a surprise trade. Perron is young, fierce and marketable player with high value. If the Oilers gamble on Nail Yakupov improving, Perron could be sent out for much needed reinforcements. Paired with Sam Gagner, a top center or defender could be had from a deeper team; maybe the Chicago Blackhawks? Patrick Kane has a history with Samwise. I don’t want to think about Perron and Toews, but I do like the thought of Duncan Keith with our beloved Oilers. There’s still free agency to consider as well. Perron may give management the leverage it needs.
OIL ON WHYTE OUTLOOK: Perron gets traded. The Oilers get a needed piece back. But, GM Craig Mactavish only pulls the trigger if the fit makes the team better. Packaged with draft and prospect assets, he would be considered a bold move if he gets shipped. He has two more years at $3.5 million, so if this trade is botched, it hurts the line up. With a suitable return, the Oilers retain all three first overall picks, Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz. If the team ends up retaining him, they better start winning some games.