Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Second Chance for Perron

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Second Chance for Perron

Article excerpt

When it was obvious that David Perron no longer was a fit in Pittsburgh last season and the Penguins placed the forward on the trade block, the Blues had internal talks about bringing their 2007 first-round draft pick back to St. Louis.

Instead, Perron went to Anaheim, where he teamed with Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf and totaled 23 points in 35 games, including the playoffs.

It only elevated the Blues' interest.

"I saw a guy that was a really good player there for Anaheim, very effective," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He was one of the guys getting a lot of scoring chances in that series against Nashville. I said, 'Whoever gets this guy on the next go, he's going to get a real good player.'"

The coach passed along those thoughts to Blues general manager Doug Armstrong. And on the first day of free agency, Friday, he heeded the advice and signed Perron to a two-year, $7.5 million contract.

The deal reunited the 28-year-old winger with the club that selected him No. 26 overall nine years ago and traded him to Edmonton in 2013. He elected to come back rather than return to Anaheim or play in his hometown of Montreal.

"It would have been a dream to play (in Montreal), but St. Louis is really a place that's close to my heart," Perron said. "I really missed playing in the city and I wanted to get another shot and hopefully make the best of it this time.

"I think what I was really happy about is how much 'Hitch' pushed to get me. With all the rumors that were out there, it just kind of proves that everyone was wrong, and I'm happy about that."

Three years ago, the Blues dealt Perron to the Oilers for Magnus Paajarvi and a second-round pick, in part to free up salary to help re-sign defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. But there was also concern at the time about whether Perron fit Hitchcock's system and meshed well in the locker room.

"I always liked David from the red line in," Hitchcock said. "I always liked what he brought, and I always thought that if his game matured when the other team has the puck, he's going to end up being a really effective player."

"Yes, there were differences and there will be differences with 'Hitch,' just the type of coach he is," Perron said. "I think he knows that himself and he enjoys that part, he enjoys the confrontation. He pushes you to be make you a better player, and that's fine."

As far as his relationship with teammates, Perron says that playing only one season of major junior hockey before turning pro at age 19 made the start of his career difficult because he was growing up on the fly. His infamous story of wanting to wear white skates in a sport where black is the norm, which some viewed as drawing attention to himself, was one example.

"I understand as a young guy that you kind of need to earn those things," Perron said. "I understood that, I kind of got on board with that. …

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