David Perron blew expectations away after coming over from St. Louis last season, posting a legitimate breakout season at the age of 25. Is it a sign of things to come, or will he take a step back next season?
For those interested in a brief explanation of this series, see the first post in it (on Taylor Hall). Just a reminder about two things: I’m not projecting breakout seasons here (though they happen) and “comparables” are just the players inhabiting roughly the same roster position on the eight Western Conference playoff teams, and that empty-net goals are not included.
Games & Usage
Perron has been relatively durable over his career, with the exception of a big concussion that cost him 96 games. Other than that, over the last six years he’s missed a grand total of five games to injury. Assuming disaster doesn’t strike again, chalking him up for 80 games played seems pretty reasonable.
Normally, we’d expect head coach Dallas Eakins to deploy Perron the same way he did last season, but this year the Oilers’ depth chart on the wings is significantly stronger and that should equate to less double-shifting for Perron. With that in mind, I’ve decided to average Perron’s ice-time last year with what he got in St. Louis in 2012-13 (per game, he played about a minute less at evens, 20 seconds less on the power play).
That gives us (again, all per game) 15.3 minutes at even strength, 0.6 minutes on the penalty kill and 2.6 minutes on the power play.
Perron’s shot rates at even-strength and on the power play over this three-year NHL career (via ExtraSkater.com) are as follow:
Worth noting: Because this method is based on average production, a single breakout year (like the one Perron had last year) impacts the results but doesn’t supersede less productive years. There’s an argument that Perron’s offence was suppressed in St. Louis, but there’s a counter-argument that 2013-14 was a one-off for the winger.
Also worth noting: Perron was a shot-generating machine last year, but his shooting percentage fell from the mid-teens down to just over 10 percent. That could be a result of a new ‘shoot from anywhere’ mentality (if so, it was still a worthwhile trade off) or it could be a temporary drop-off.
At even-strength, we’ve projected Perron to play roughly 1,220 minutes next season. Using our estimated shots/hour rate, that works out to 135 shots. Perron’s shooting rate at evens over the last four years is an excellent 14.0 percent, which helps inflate his goal totals all the way up to 19 goals at even-strength.
On the power play, we’ve projected Perron to play just under 210 minutes next season. Using our estimated shots/hour rate, that works out to 35 shots. He has shot at a 16.7 percent clip on 90 power play shots over his career; that isn’t much of a sample but it’s only a slight bump from his career rate so I’m going to use it, giving him 6 goals on the power play. Perron gets some penalty kill time and scores a shorthanded goal every other year; he had one in 2013-14 so we’ll peg him for zero this year (besides which, Nugent-Hopkins is in a similar probability boat and we rounded up with him).
Total: 25 goals. This represents a slight step back from 2013-14, but it’s actually better than I expected from this process. If the Oilers can get 25 non-empty net goals out of Perron they should be very happy.
- Anaheim: Daniel Winnik (6)
- Colorado: Nathan MacKinnon (24)
- St. Louis: Jaden Schwartz (25)
- San Jose: Tomas Hertl (14)
- Chicago: Marian Hossa (26)
- Los Angeles: Jeff Carter (25)
- Minnesota: Matt Moulson (23)
Dallas: Rich Peverley (7)
Average: 19 goals.
Our average of 19 goals is dragged down by some special factors – injuries to Hertl and Peverley, as well as Anaheim’s rotate-a-winger usage (Winnik played more than 15 minutes per game but finished 14th on the team with just six goals). Carter shows up on the wing because he took less faceoffs than the Kings’ other three top-nine centres (Kopitar, Stoll, M. Richards).
The best clubs are all in the 25-goal range, where Perron slots in nicely.