The 2018-19 St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup Championship, the first in the history of the franchise. But, naturally, some players made a bigger contribution than others. In this series, we’ll look at the Blues’ star players, and see who made the grade and who needs to retake the test.
David Perron has a unique distinction: though he has played for five NHL teams, he has never signed a contract with any team other than the St. Louis Blues. The 2018-19 season was the beginning of his third term with the squad and was the second straight season in which he played in the Stanley Cup Final.
Unlike his one season with the Vegas Golden Knights, however, this appearance ended triumphantly. Perron helped the Blues bring home their first Stanley Cup, but how did he grade out over the whole season?
A Successful Return
When the Blues tendered Perron a four-year, $16 million contract in the offseason, some fans were concerned. The 66 points in 70 games career-high he’d reached with the Golden Knights seemed like an anomaly and few believed that he could stay anywhere near that pace going forward.
But the contract was a fair value for a free agent winger, and Perron was eager to return to the town he considered his home. Early returns were very promising for the Quebec native, who scored 5 goals and 5 assists for 10 points in his first 10 games.
The pace slowed in November, one of the weaker months for the whole team. He added just five more points in 14 games and was a minus-six. But he heated back up and through late December and early January, Perron went on a career-high 13-game point streak, hotching six goals and 10 assists in that time.
Unfortunately, injury brought an untimely end to Perron’s streak. On Jan. 17, 2019, he suffered an upper-body injury. At the time, he had played 35 games and had posted 17 goals and 18 assists, good for a point-per-game pace. It seemed like Perron was indeed the same player from Vegas a season before.
It took him two months to make his way back to the ice, but he did in mid-March, and he returned to form very quickly. In fact, Perron scored in his first three games back, including scoring two goals and one assist in his second contest. But due to the injury, those points didn’t count toward his streak.
Perron finished the season with 23 goals and 23 assists, good for 46 points in 57 games. The 0.807 points per game pace didn’t quite surpass the 0.943 pace from his season in Vegas, but it was otherwise the best pace in his career. He also finished with a point share of 5.5, good for sixth on the team amongst skaters, despite missing two months.
No one could have expected more from Perron during the regular season. But would he be able to accomplish what he had failed to accomplish the season before?
Some fans might forget how vital Perron was during the postseason. But he finished fifth on the team in points with 7 goals and 9 assists for 16 points. Two of those goals were game-winners in a critical Game 6 in the second round and Game 5 in the Stanley Cup Final. He also got the primary assist on the final goal of Game 7, whereupon he could be heard screaming “we won, we won” while celebrating with his teammates.
Perron took the ice after that game as a Stanley Cup champion for the first time in his career. He was the only Blue that had made it that far in the postseason before, except for Oskar Sundqvist, who was something of an afterthought with the Pittsburgh Penguins on their 2016 championship team.
Interviewed by NHL Network after the game, Perron struggled to put his emotions into words: “it’s tough to wrap your head around it right now, all this celebration. I think when we bring it back in the room, bring it back on the plane to the city… that deserves a Cup for so many years, it’s so special to be a part of the group that does it.”
Indeed that was special, for the fans as much as for Perron. While honest fans might have admitted a bit of disappointment about his signing when it happened, no one should be upset now.
Perron was stellar throughout the season, posting his second-highest career point per game total. Then he remained a solid contributor during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, coming fifth on the team with 16 points. He brought necessary playoff experience to the squad, as well as the added hunger of someone who had fallen short the year before. With Perron’s help, the Blues delivered the Stanley Cup to St. Louis for the very first time.
It’s hard to imagine Perron doing anything more for the team in his first season back in town. For just four million dollars a season, the contract the Blues gave him now seems like an absolute steal.
Final Grade: A+
Stephen Ground is an author with The Hockey Writers and is co-host of the Two Guys No Cup Podcast. He enjoys studying the numbers and providing fresh looks at various stories.