After only adding depth the first few days of free agency, the Blues did sign a player for their NHL club on Thursday, but it was the re-signing of their own, David Perron, to a four-year extension.
Perron was expected to get a short-term deal from the Blues to prove he was back to himself after his bout with a concussion, but instead, the Blues took a risk in signing him for four more years.
“When we started talking I had nothing in mind," said Perron. "I was open for anything and we just started talking. Last week things really got going and that’s when we started talking long term. I’m just real happy to be back in St. Louis for four years.”
“David has been a key member of our franchise since he was drafted in the first round," said General Manager Doug Armstrong. "He has played five years as a pro and we really think that he is a big part of our future.”
The four-year extension is worth $15.25 million ($3.8 million annually). The contract came after General Manager Doug Armstrong said the organization wanted to make sure Perron had recovered fully from his injury (concussion) that caused him to miss 97 consecutive games.
“I know it’s past me and I have healed from that," said Perron. "Every game I played last year I felt one hundred-percent in terms of my head, but they shape I was in wasn’t really as good as I wanted it to be obviously missing all that time the past few years. This summer is a really big summer for me.”
“We talked at the end of the year about maybe going short-term with the contract," said Armstrong. "I wanted to hear what was important for them (Perron’s party). I wanted them to hear my concerns and I think both sides had to give a little.”
“His concussion was something David’s agent and I talked about and it’s a risk-reward for both sides. Both sides are assuming some risk in this deal. When you look at David’s point production he is a natural goal scorer in today’s game. I think both sides wanted to get a deal done and I think it worked out very well."
After his return, Perron went on to play 57 games in the 2011-12 season, accumulating 42 points. His goal total (21) was second best on the team behind only David Backes' 24 goals. Perron was tied for second on the team in game winning goals scored (4) and third best on the team in shooting percentage (18.4) despite not playing a game until early December.
“What I was impressed with was he came back without training camp, and training on his own and still be able to produce 42 points in 57 games," said Armstrong. "Talking to him he feels great right now and I think this is going to be a really big stepping stone into the season.”
This year, barring any unforeseen complications, Perron will have the offseason to prepare, and get his body in condition for the grind that comes with the new season. Perron played in nine playoff games in 2012, but was not content with his five points (one goal, four assists), claiming he felt he was a unable to keep up with the intensity that came with the playoffs.
“I’m way ahead of where I was at any point during the season last year. It seemed like when the intensity got high in the playoffs it kind of left me dragging a little behind. My head was there, my hands were there, everything was there except my conditioning. It seemed like in the second round it didn’t go as well as I wanted as a player, and obviously as a team. I have been training like a maniac lately and feeling really good. When you look at the ten games I played before my injury (in the 2010-11 season) I was really good both offensively and defensively. I was really aware out there and I want to get back to that point.”
“I love the city of St. Louis and I’m thrilled to play in front of these awesome fans for another four years,” Perron said. “We had an excellent regular season but we all feel this team has so much more to accomplish.”
The Sherbrooke, Quebec native was drafted by the Blues in the first round, 26th overall, of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He has played in 292 career games since his debut in the 2007 season and has accumulated 173 points (74 goals, 99 assists).
The Blues are still negotiating with restricted-free agent T.J. Oshie.