Bernie: The All-Star David Perron Personifies What The Blues Are All About

Blues fans came through in a big way for David Perron, who was added to the Central Division All-Star team with an emphatic rush of online voting.

That’s no surprise. Blues fans are passionate and loyal about their team — and they are fully supportive of players that have earned their affection and respect.

Perron qualifies. And that’s why the fans’ incredible desire to click in votes has given “DP57” a red-carpet stroll into the All-Star Game. Perron will join coach Craig Berube, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, goaltender Jordan Binnington and center Ryan O’Reilly on the Central squad.

Maybe it’s really more of a magic-carpet ride for David Perron. At age 31, and in his third different tour of service with the Blues, it’s difficult to imagine a way for this partnership to get any better.

Perron leads the Blues in goals (20), points (46), game-winning goals (8), power-play goals (8), even-strength goals (12) and overtime goals (4.)

Since Vladimir Tarasenko — the team’s most formidable scoring source — was lost indefinitely to a substantial shoulder injury on Oct. 24, many Blues have stepped up to fill the void.

It’s been a collective endeavor. With Tarasenko out of action 23 different Blues have scored at least a goal over this 36-game stretch. That includes 11 players with five or more goals.

The Blues averaged 3.2 goals per game with 10 games that featured Tarasenko in the lineup … and have maintained that rate (3.2) over the next 36 contests. Moreover, the Blues have actually scored more goals at 5-on-5 since Tarasenko went on the injured list; they averaged 1.9 goals (5v5) with him and are averaging 2.1 goals (5v5) without him.

It’s also factually true that no Blue has done more, from a scoring standpoint, than Perron during this post-Tarasenko stretch.

In the Blues’ first three-dozen games without Tarasenko, Perron has produced 15 goals and 23 assists for 38 points. And when DP57 has been on the ice during this time — all strengths — the Blues have scored 62.8 percent of the goals and controlled 58% of the scoring chances.

In short, Perron is on the way to a career-best season. And he’s consistently delivering the timely goals and plays at a time when the Blues have needed him the most.

Perron’s career with the Blues is fascinating…

— At 19 years old, Perron was drafted by the Blues with the 26th overall selection of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. His promising career was interrupted by a serious concussion suffered during a blatant and despicable cheap-shot hit by San Jose’s Joe Thornton. Perron played in only 10 games during the 2010-2011 season.

— In a transaction primarily made for salary-cap reasons Perron (then age 24) was traded to Edmonton in July, 2013. But that deal (for Magnus Paajarvi) included a draft pick that became Ivan Barbashev.

— After stops with Pittsburgh and Anaheim, Perron re-signed with the Blues as a free agent in July 2016 at age 28. He had a decent season, with 18 goals and 28 assists in 82 games. But Perron generally was a non-factor in the postseason, notching only one assist (and nothing else) in 11 games.

–Perron was left unprotected in the 2017 Las Vegas expansion draft, and the Golden Knights were smart to select him. Perron rebounded for 16 goals and 50 assists in 70 games, helping Vegas reach the Stanley Cup Final.

— In the summer of 2019 the Blues reunited with Perron on a four-year, $16 million free-agent contract that looks like a bargain.

It’s been a sweet homecoming for the popular veteran. Perron’s third time with the Blues is sort of like hat trick: Stanley Cup champion, All-Star honors, and generating the highest level of respect of his career.

Since returning to St. Louis Perron has 43 regular-season goals (and 92 points) in 103 games. He became an important presence in the Blues’ determined Stanley Cup with seven goals and nine assists in 26 postseason games. This season he’s setting career standards for goals per game (0.43) and points per game (1.00.) And Perron leads all Blues in Offensive Win Shares.

And Perron is paramount in the Blues’ tremendous success — an NHL-best 24-8-4 record — since the loss of Tarasenko. And let’s not forget the extensive injury absences of Alex Steen and Sammy Blais.

Yes, it’s been quite an experience, these “Three Stages of David Perron” in St. Louis…

First, Perron was the flashy rookie. A talented kid, and a good kid, but a little immature…

In his second stage, then into his 20s, Perron became a fine player but didn’t evolve into a star player. He wasn’t a failure …just a disappointment. And in that context Perron symbolized a heralded Blues’ youth-movement that helped turn the team into a winner but never fully paid off. A nucleus that included David Backes, Erik Johnson, T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund, Alex Pietrangelo, young-vet Alex Steen and Perron won a bunch of games but didn’t reach a Stanley Cup Final as a group.

Finally, in this third stage with the Blues, the well-rounded and savvy Perron came back as an older, smarter, mentally tougher competitor. His offensive skill was always there. But this time around a fully complete Perron has been a team leader, a tenacious competitor, and the personification of the Blues’ quality culture. This isn’t a job for him; playing for the Blues has is Perron’s calling. He’s been through everything here: the positive and the bitter, the happiness and heartache, the criticism and the paydays … and the burns that left wounds.

Those scars toughened him, hardened him, made Perron ready for the most rewarding phase of his career. After all of these years Perron and the Blues’ franchise have found what they’ve looked for. This fascinating odyssey has, finally, led to ecstasy.

Congratulations to DP57 … a true Blue.

Thanks for reading…

–Bernie