For Oiler fans, the big acquisition this summer was David Perron. A skilled winger with a nice resume, we’re excited to see what he can do, see how many goals he can score alongside the young and talented forwards in Edmonton. Perron’s exit from St. Louis was a bit of surprise, but cap worries made it necessary. What did his coach think of him? Good things. Good things.
In an article by Norm Sanders from the News Democrat, Hitchcock was quite forthcoming about his former winger. The interview is here, and I’m not going to quote too much of the article (there’s quite a bit about Magnus Paajarvi too) and would suggest you click through and read it.
- Hitchcock: "Him and I had a good relationship because I really respected the fact that he was coming back from a significant injury. I really felt like he was a guy that when you had him on the ice, you were one step away from scoring a goal all the time.He was a dangerous player offensively, so the other team was always on edge against him."
Terrific quote from an outstanding coach, and Perron’s numbers imply we’re looking at a superior offensive player in comparison to Paajarvi:
- Perron in the NHL per 82 games: 20-28-48
- Paajarvi in the NHL per 82 games: 13-16-29
There are all kinds of reasons for the gap–Perron is older, more established, plays more minutes and 5×4 minutes–but I don’t think anyone can reasonably argue about Perron being the better offensive player.
For his part, Oilers GM Craig MacTavish had kind words for Paajarvi at the time of the deal:
MacT: “Hated to get rid of him. Hard guy to part with, such a good guy, really fit in well with the culture of the group and the work ethic. He is very much still developing. He’s going to be a good player.
Hindsight is 20/20, but most onlookers believe the Perron-Paajarvi trade was pretty fair, the 2nd round pick going to the Blues making up for the gap in age, experience and offensive ability in the two players exchanged.
- Perron: "Just having the chance to play on the Edmonton Oilers will be fun, with the type of hockey they play, St. Louis makes its game a little after the LA Kings style, while Edmonton is looking to be more like Chicago or Detroit. It’s definitely nice to come into a situation like that."
There’s not much doubt offensive players prefer the wide open style, and the Oilers freewheel as well as anyone in the conference.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Sometimes in life we fall ass-over-tea-kettle into something good, and most often we don’t really trust our good fortune. The Hitchcock article, married to Perron’s on-ice performance and the boxcars, suggests to me that David Perron is the real deal–an offensive winger made available only because the cap crunch gave St. Louis the Blues.
And Edmonton was there with the assets to take advantage. A very nice result.